The one phrase I heard OVER AND OVER was "do a soil test". No matter what you wanted to plant, you needed to KNOW what the health was of your planting material. The soil testing, depending on where you live, will be free or really cheap, but the information invaluable. Then you can add nutrients or matter to make your soil perfect for planting what you want to grow!
So, having heard this, I've been working hard in the landscaping of our garden beds at the front of our home. I was going to do a soil test, REALLY I WAS, but my original plan was to pull the soil (and all the grass and weeds growing in it) out of the planter and put new, fresh, quality potting mix in. Fresh start. Good deal. No problems. Right??
Wrong. Between weather, a busy schedule, and an upcoming summer wedding (our son!) - we aren't going to put the money into doing it that way now. We're taking the more laborious task (but fiscally responsible task) of working with what we have. Making due. It's ok - but now we've got growing season upon us and no soil testing done...and I'm moving forward anyways. Breaking rules. That's not the way I roll...not the way I like to anyways.
Most of the soil was buried under landscaping barrier fabric, and a layer of red dyed wood chips. Unfortunately, they didn't put any landscaping barrier in the front part of the flower bed, so the creeping grass we have as a lawn (zoysia??) has been happily living there. THRIVING there in the flower bed. Thankfully, Mark didn't mind digging it out, and I expect it will still be a work in process.
The dirt is not the texture I want it to be...it's dirt...and I wanted potting mix with vermiculite and organic materials...but it's still dark and rich and full of worms...so we've jumped on it to get things in the ground...UNDER the ground...bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes to fill the shady spots with ferns, caladiums, and hostas. We added a fountain feature. I envision maidenhair ferns swaying to a cool breeze in the heat of summer...the slightly sweet fragrance of a hosta bloom and the tickling sound of our fountain....
BUT - I've completely ignored the first rule of good gardening. I didn't soil test. There, I said it. If all this planting goes to waste, there's nothing to do but blame me, and soil test next winter before starting the whole process again. BECAUSE YOUR SOIL CHANGES ALL THE TIME. As plants live and grow there, the nutrients change. You have to test and prepare your soil every year. Over and over.
So, fast forward to the past few days. We've celebrated Easter - Jesus' Resurrection and living seated at the right hand of the Father. Such Good News that I live to tell others.
But I'm sad. Depressed. Blue. Daylight is growing longer and longer, and I'm struggling to get out of bed, and if I'm out of bed I'm struggling to stay awake. I'm seriously tired. Sit still and fall asleep tired. Exhausted. I feel like the "Depression Hurts" commercial. Even laying in bed my calves hurt. I haven't done anything to hurt my calves. Haven't taken a walk. Haven't got the treadmill fired up. I did work in the garden, but don't think I hurt my calves. I don't get it. Well, I do get it partially, but don't like it (so I'll choose to ignore it). I'm suffering from "the day after Christmas (only it's Easter) Syndrome," and saying goodbye to all my grands as we leave Kentucky I realize, I'm homesick for where we used to live. Homesick for a church full of engaging people. Homesick for my handful of really good, genuine, real-life girlfriends.
We have lived here (Arkansas) for 7 months now and I've barely made a friend...I have acquaintances...recognize people, but have yet to find a kindred spirit (or 2), a prayer partner, someone to relate to my husbands crazy work schedule and traveling, and be an empty nester; someone in my age/stage of life. No one. Zip. Zero. Nada. I fear another "30 years in the wilderness" experience that I lived while in SW MO, and wonder if I'm forgetting something that I learned there...something I'm supposed to be living now that I can't remember. Sigh.
So, laying under a thick layer of blankets this morning, snuggled in deep in a bounty of warm cottons, I'm reading my daily Bible reading on my phone, and open to Luke 8, reading most of the chapter, but paying special attention to the parable of the seed. I've put the text here:
When they hear, they won’t understand.’[b]
and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
for now is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come
and shower righteousness upon you.’ ~ Hosea 10:12