Dirty Pleasure, I Welcome Thee

Today will be spent on the computer. I have been working on a drawing of the carnival grounds for our school’s annual fundraiser, and after walking off the area yesterday, will finish that to share with the committee at our first meeting tonight. It’s always something. Yesterday, it was Valentine’s parties at school, a day I must say I dread every year.

But that was not first on my mind when I woke up this morning. I know I need to focus. But I will quickly blog instead about my delightful accomplishments that only spanned a few hours, and then I promise to get right back to real work.

5:00a. Wake up and visit with husband, who’s been up since 4:00a.

6:00a. First of the kids gets up.  Drink coffee, pack lunches, make breakfast.

7:00a. Visit with the kids while they eat and joke around, my favorite way to start the day.

7:30a. Kids on the bus. I have exactly an hour to build a lasagna bed before the tree crew and their gigantic chipper gets here. No time to lose.

7:45a. First, I hand-move a mountain of pulled weeds (which I have saved over the last couple of weeks) into my largest wheel barrow. Then, I flip this year’s compost pile with a pitchfork into that spot. Lots of worms there…good. Excellent back and shoulder work, so I burn some calories to boot.

8:00a. In between raised beds (both built with a vermiculite-peat-compost mix), I cover the grass with over-lapped cardboard boxes to choke out grass growth. First, it’s the green layer. I dump the weeds from my wheel barrow onto the cardboard and spread evenly by hand; I cover that with a thick layer of newsprint to discourage any weed seeds from making their way to the surface. Next, some compost, then some brown. I layer over the compost some shrub clippings (also collected from my yard, when I trimmed my front shrubs a couple of weeks ago) about 2″ thick. Last, another layer of compost.

8:30a. I fill the wheelbarrow with as much compost (all from this season, not “entirely cooked”) as I think I’ll need.  I dump that onto the newsprint and spread evenly.  I then transfer as many earthworms as I can find (30-40) from my ground pile and place them on my lasagna bed.  Those are “my people,” my hired, cheap-labor rototillers. Go to work, little guys.

8:30a. The area where my compost pile used to be is now clear for the tree guys to chip into. I mark a sprinkler head with a 4-foot T-post; this will likely get buried in mulch. The foreman arrives.

Ah! Looking good. I’m dirty from head-to-toe, have done my morning workout, and it all took me a little less than an hour. If it all goes well, this will be my new smarter garden prep. No tilling, no burning gas, and everything came from my yard. I’m even delaying my annual trek to the equestrian center for some free poop.

100% sustainable.

100% doable.

100% pleasure.

Two Square-Foot Beds, New ‘Lasagna’ in Between


11 thoughts on “Dirty Pleasure, I Welcome Thee

    1. There’s a great book on Lasagna Gardening. I swear — it is a fantastically brilliant way to “build soil.” I now think of my compost bin as “the middle man.” Lasagna-style just cuts out the middle man.


  1. As I read about your day, I am beginning to realize that I don’t challenge my worms enough … or me, but that’s another matter.


    1. You’re good to do a worm farm. I’m fortunate to have such a big yard space.

      I love worms. So do my kids. After a gully-washer, we like to go out “worm herding” all the little guys back into the soil and off the pavement (where they’ll fry). I’m happy to have them outside in my yard, though, and not requiring care from me inside! I already have enough to do…


  2. Sort of makes my . . .

    6 am get out of bed upon hearing kids are moving around
    7 am wake-up officially thanks to coffee with extra cream
    8 am throw some cereal on the table
    9 am take kids to school
    9:30 to 11:30 mess around on my blog and, later, a few wikipedia pages about the 1920s

    . . . seem rather unambitious. That’s okay, I’m still recovering from my Valentine’s Day cleaning/cooking/baking extravaganza. Seriously? You rock the house!


    1. Yours looks more like my normal mode, really, except I do get up early. I always get super-motivated when I hear “free mulch” or “free manure.” I’m so diggin’ that pile…already making plans for where it’ll go.

      My husband thought it was bit disingenuous that I put “visiting with kids” in place of “putting kids on bus” as my favorite part of the day. I think he may be right about that one…


  3. Yeah, I’m barely going at 8:30! But 80 degrees, what else can you do. I’m ready to get something going in the garden myself, but I’m afraid winter hasn’t even started here yet and we’ll get snow in March. NC can be tricky like that. 60s in February and snow in March. It’s happened.


    1. Texas is pretty predictably warm. Snow in March? That would wreck my bikini tan line, which is usually already going on by then. And I wouldn’t be able to wear flip-flops.


    1. I’m trained to it. Our temps here are normally in the high 80’s in the morning (and balmy), so I try to be finished with any outdoor work by 11a when it’s in the 90’s. Early morning is where it’s at. But I crash at 8p.


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