How to Dig: Part one of a shiny NEW Spy Garden How-To series! How to go from Grass to Garden. Yard to Vegetables. Lawn to Earth Sculpture.
Prerequisite gardening knowledge needed: NONE.
Even if you don’t plan on picking up a shovel in the foreseeable future, you may want to follow along anyway because if there is, say, a zombie apocalypse, gardening will be a wicked useful skill. And so,
Part One: How to Dig
Here is a map of Spy Garden:
A few days ago we had a momentous groundbreaking ceremony for the “EXPANSION!” (the dashed-line shape) in the plan above. By “ceremony”, I mean, me,
During the grand celebration (aka the first glorious moments when grass begins to turn to garden), I thought “HEY! I should share step by step on how I create this new garden bed from scratch so people can see how easy it is!” I am not very fond of following directions (at least in my creative/leisure pursuits) and my approach to “grass to garden” is based on me “winging it” in the garden for the past few years. The method I will share in the formation of this new plot is what has been most effective method for growing vegetables in Spy Garden. My approach incorporates aspects of both “till” and “no till” approaches, the only tool I ever use is a regular shovel (well, sometimes a wheelbarrow) and mostly all “jobs” in the garden are completed in 30 minutes or less increments (which is about the time it takes for a two-year old Babyzilla to get bored of the garden).
Unearthing the mechanics of proper digging is the first step in deepening your garden knowledge. The bad puns and double-entendres contained in explaining the art of digging could fill a very deep hole…but I digress.
Sometimes, when the topic of gardening comes up (and by “comes up” I mean, when I bring it up) people say to me, “I don’t know how to garden.” Probably what they really mean is “Please stop talking about gardening.” This statement always bothers me because really, neither do I, really, KNOW how to garden! And how can everyone possibly not share my enthusiasm for dirt!? In the Microsoft Word Thesaurus if you look up “dirt”, some synonyms are “gossip”, “scandal” and “smut”. Judging by the magazine display at the grocery aisle check-out, I gather that a lot of people care about that sort of dirt. But again, I digress.
I’ve learned various things about gardening but it is sort of like starting over every season and being open to learning “how to garden” all over again, every spring. One does not really “learn” how to garden, you just do it. And the first step of gardening is digging. Well, really the first step is choosing a location, but that’s a whole other topic, one I’ve covered, along with the merits of thinking beyond the expected quadrilateral for your plot, in this post.
In our area (Missouri), I find that the ideal time to dig a new garden plot is winter. On, say, a 35-50 (Farenheit) degree day
when all the snow has melted so the ground is slightly damp, but not soaked. Winter is a good time to dig new plots because the grass/weeds are dormant. When you dig in the spring you are flinging millions of seeds around that are eager to grow, overzealous really, and they will quickly take over. In winter, everything is dormant,
so if you create a big patch of dirt it will stay a big patch of dirt (sans weeds) for a month or two (until spring). Come spring I’ll share my patented (not really), No Till, No Weeds phase of preparing the garden for plants. Exposing big clods of dirt to the elements (wind/snow/sun/etc.) prior to spring is great because it allows for the soil to break down (nature’s mechanical tilling) for the next few months.
Enough blathering let’s have at it:
How to Dig
Love those dirt moguls!
You could remove the grass/sod. There is a nifty little sod cutter thing that digs up just the uppermost layer of grass and soil. You could roll it up and then relocate the grass to another location. But that would be REALLY involved. Martha Stewart does that and it’s awesome and all but my method takes virtually NO TIME.
Seriously, this new plot I’ve started in the picture above took less than 30 minutes to dig. Plus you only need one tool (a shovel).
I was hoping to make this as satirical and funny as possible, but I had to take a lot of the jokes out because they were too dirty, and this site is rated PG.