Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mining Garden Dirt

A principle that Kit and I live by is, "Take the gift that God gives you." To often we fail to realize a blessing within a disappointment.

In South Carolina we had spent 18 years building the soil in our raised bed garden. The soil became a perfect mix of clay, organic matter, and sand. We've written about our new raised bed garden. Because of a business trip we had to make in the spring, we only had time to build the enclosure and then turn the existing earth. Although for the first year the garden was a tremendous success, it can be much better after we can build the soil with compost and sand.

Our part of Arkansas had a terrible drought in the late summer this year. There was almost no rain for 3 months while temperatures hit 107 in the shade. Many hot dry days had humidity in the 20% range. We spent the remaining summer just trying to keep our favorite plants and trees watered.

But, the dought brought a different gift from God. We have a small 1/10 acre pond separate from than the big pond where we raise the fish. The little pond is normally a 4-6 foot deep pool alongside the driveway. Frogs, racoons, deer, and other wildlife love the clear clean water it holds. But, during the drought this little pool went dry. To our surprise, in the deepest part there remained 10-18" of decayed leaves and other organic material that had accumulated for literally decades. I was able to muck out 7-8 cubic yards of the richest soil I've ever found in the South. It was exactly what our raised bed garden needed for years to come.

All we need now is just a little (2-3 cu yd) sand. Every winter our river brings us plenty of sand which piles up in the bends. Last year I used it to fill up some low spots. By next spring, we hope to have combined the winter's sand with the muck we took from the little pool. The soil isn't the gift we would have chosen for the summer. But, we're happy and grateful for the rich dirt.