Friday, May 24, 2013

Soil Not Dirt

Soil not dirt.  One of the first lessons my not very jocular master gardening instructor taught us.  Of course it became a source of chronic joking among students and is pretty good for a chuckle among beginning gardeners everywhere.  So it came out of the bag of conversational tricks on my recent trip back to Chicago.

My daughter and I had walked a couple miles north and west of her own neighbourhood garden patch to help at another spot being transformed from empty lot to community garden plots, or allotments in British English.  Allotments and community gardens have in common that the land is not owned by the folks gardening it, and the land is set aside by folks who organise it specifically for folks to garden.  Because I think this is a wonderful idea and I have met and like the people behind it on a previous trip, I was delighted when my daughter said that they were looking for volunteers to help fill the beds in a newly created community garden, Ashlandia.

Because the garden plots are on a corner lot in a busy residential neighbourhood in Chicago, the soil had to be deposited on the street next to the raised beds waiting to be filled.  It gave an extra urgency to the project, but the collection of volunteers was good natured, and fortunately a few were sturdy as well as enthusiastic.

Now back on the different soil of north Scotland, my gardening soil adventure for today is to prepare the two bags of rotting leaves in  compost bags with the diluted comfrey juice provided by my gardening friend.  Soil needs structure as well as organic content and the leaf mould created from this mixture will enhance my own raised beds next year or the year after.  Soil can't be hurried.


At 7:00 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

Ashlandia, huh? It's over 35 years ago now we used to go driving down Ashland, south from Devon, every Friday in the early morning hours to Newsweb, the printer -- a real Deadline U.S.A. printer, where the Reader was printed. Lots of papers were printed there. I understand a Polish daily paper is still printed by Newsweb; I think I remember a seeing a German paper back in the day there as well.

In those days, Newsweb was located just south of Bert Weinman, Your TV Ford Man, 3535 North on Ashland Avenue. (On paper, at least, I do a fair Linn Burton -- he was the pitchman -- "Linn Burton for certain.")

Our college paper was a weekly and Thursday nights we did production. Thursday nights almost always lasted past sunrise on Friday mornings.

I never drove; it wasn't my car. But I pretty much always launched into a Bert Weinman commercial as we drove past.

Newsweb still exists, but it has moved. Bert Weinman and Linn Burton are both gone now.

Depending on how late we'd finished, the volunteers for the various tag days would be gathering at the major intersections along Ashland when we were on our way or on our way back. That was how I learned that Lions Candy Day is followed by Kiwanis Peanut Day and Salvation Army Donut Day....

At 8:12 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Good to hear from you, Cur. I love the neighbourhood-ness of Chicago. I like thinking of you as a reporter for your college paper and burning the midnight oil.


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