What I Wanted To Tell You Was...

6 years ago

http://daisychain.typepad.com/the_poet_in_you/ Never have I seen such a damaged piece of earth as the one that I live on. Six years ago, or thereabouts, we bought this, our first home. We looked it over, we cruised the neighborhood, we had the house inspected. We would drive by, visit, leave and come back. The location? Perfect. It was close enough but not right in town. By all accounts, the neighborhood was improving significantly. There was no HOA, something that Michael is vehemently opposed to. In the end, we bought it and soon after, I sunk a spade into the earth and turned it over. This is where the heartache began.

Each spadeful yielded what could only be described as sheer and utter garbage; litter, waste, whatever you want to call it. There were hints of this when we were thinning out trees in the far part of the yard soon after we bought the property but never did I imagine that the entire yard was basically landfill.

I have pulled bucketfuls of debris from each and every area that I want to garden: shoes, dolls, eating utensils, spark plugs, coke cans, hardware of every kind, long strips of metal, but most of all, pieces of glass. I can (and have) spent hours sifting through an area of ground and removed buckets of debris only to have an entirely new layer exposed after a rain.

The poor state of this little piece of land feeds the intense love-hate relationship that I have with my garden area. Putting in a new garden bed is never simply turning the soil, adding organic matter, installing 2x6s. I feel compelled to dig into the ground first. Then I find the garbage. Then I get depressed. An overwhelming feeling that this is an absolutely futile endeavor takes over. I can feel exhausted before any progress is made. In my mind I see the delicate and pristine roots wrapping around rusted out springs and penetrating old leather soles in their travels downward in search of nutrients.

I consider bioremediation, phytoremediation. I am tortured by the off the cuff remark, "Oh, I have that too in my yard." Really? Because I don't think so. You may have the occasional litter blown into your yard but I am talking about decades worth of landfill in my backyard. Unregulated landfill. The most exasperating part of the conversation with an old co-worker follows.

"I think I'm going to do that too then."

"Do what?" I ask.

"That thing you're talking about. The mediation thing with the hyper plants." Hmmm....might want to read a book or two then. Or listen. Or empathize. Any of which you could benefit from immensely. Yes, contemplating my little piece of land and my failure to convey how sickly it is, how in need of attention and first aid it is, makes me feel a little edgy. In an effort to minimize any variation of the aforementioned exchange, I find that I am a little  cautious who I share my concerns with, afterall, no one wants to read the headline, "Misunderstood Gardener Spikes Workplace Coffee with Spinosad."

Years have passed and my progress has been slow. I battle all of the common garden problems in between creating new growing spaces - the pests, plant diseases, animals that lurk in the night. The goals that I have for the garden are slow to come to fruition.

I make quite the one man army with my little tiller in hand. It takes a lot of cursing to get that machine on my side of the game. It, too, would rather shut down that till through the debris. It has been kicked and sweet talked, oiled and bashed with any stone that I can clutch and wield with force. It's like a stubborn old mule that I don't have to have dewormed every year. I don't know what I'd have done without it.

The sporadic blog posts are probably a good indication of where I stand with the garden in any given week. I vacillate between feeling completely inadequate (no posts) and being on cloud nine when a blossom appears (enthusiastic multi-posting).

The state of the garden crosses my mind every single day. When playing, "If you could have three wishes..." my first wish is always that I could replace every last grain of dirt on our property with healthy fertile soil. Then I wish for the big bucks and then the free time. But always, always, the soil comes first.

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