Dirt cheap? Hah! No such thing — ain’t nothing cheap about dirt! I’m still shell-shocked by my trip to the nursery this afternoon. Sticker shock — who knew it could apply to dirt?? The flowers are gorgeous and I can hardly wait to get some planted by the trellis … but I’ll need some fresh dirt.
Three years ago I decided to add more dirt to my big planter in the backyard. My plants liked it so I thought this year I’d add some more this year — maybe a dozen big bags would do it, so off I went to the nursery. I trotted into Lowe’s Garden Center, (http://www.lowe’s.com/Outdoors) grabbed a basket and trundled over to the stacks of soil. And there I stopped, gasped and blinked several times.
Evidently you can no longer buy a bag of just dirt. You have to get a specific kind of dirt. There is potting soil which, I’m guessing is for potted plants as opposed to free-range plants; there is organic dirt (really? what could be organic about dirt?); there is soil enriched with vitamins, soil specifically for growing vegetables as opposed to the soil for growing fruit, berries or indoor plants or the soil specifically designed for raised planters and … wait! Special soil for raised planters? As opposed to soil that just goes on the ground? What earthly difference could that makes? (And was that a pun??) But still, a few bags of dirt to go in the planter seems like a good idea until … well, I mean just look at the price! NO WAY! Really?
By my calculations (which I freely admit might be faulty), my back planter is 120 square feet and even if I get enough to add six inches clear across, that would be 20 cubic feet — I think. So let me figure this out … Oh, my word, I’m going to have to mortgage the house just to buy dirt!
I mean, I love flowers and I want my snapdragons and daisies to be happy, but what is in this dirt anyway? Isn’t the whole world made of dirt? Of course, the dirt in the desert isn’t dirt at all which is why we have to buy it at the nursery. It’s sand with alkali and caliche (that’s Spanish for limestone they tell me) so not conducive to growing things like hollyhocks and honeysuckle which aren’t exactly desert plants.
So should I start thinking along the line of desert plants? Like, uh, cactus? I have “desert landscaping” in the front yard and that supports some non-native but drought-tolerant plants that have pretty flowers, but I’m not giving up hollyhocks! I’m NOT!
I finally spot a stack of bags that are much more reasonably priced, but oh wait … it’s $5.00 for .75 Cubit feet as opposed to $10 for three cubic feet so actually works out to considerably more! Drat!
After another half hour of wandering around and looking at flowers and wondering if I really need more dirt, I decide I don’t. The flowers will just have to manage with what I got them three years ago. After all, it’s not like dirt goes bad — and who knows, toward the end of summer when it’s too hot to garden, perhaps dirt will go on sale.
But I doubt it will ever be “dirt cheap.”