Ready, Set, Hands in the Dirt!!

It has been in the upper 60’s and mid-70’s for about two weeks. As I mentioned last week, I did some planting in the small Plot Against Hunger garden and my own, in hopes that the seeds will have an early start. This week, Jane, who created beds in the large outside Plot, called a work party.


Here she is giving Ilka a tutorial on digging up a hard-packed bed.

Jane had tested the soil in this plot and while it had good pH and a nice mix of nutrients, it was oddly devoid of nitrogen. She bought bags of chicken manure to remedy that problem.


Chicken manure, which is full of nitrogen, is a ‘hot’ fertilizer. We mixed it in with the weeded, dug beds and will let it commingle before planting.

She also brought two friends who are gardeners, Paul and Ilka, who helped us dig up the hard-packed beds and dig in the chicken manure. Many hands make light work.


Paul took on that very long bed and double dug it. It’s beautiful, loose, dark soil now.

Jane has plans for the garden that include kale, tomatoes, peas, beets, carrots, and assorted other early crops. I’m not sure yet what her plan for summer is. She’ll probably put in some seeds this week.


Mulching the kale seedlings, which got a nice dose of rain after we left.

Once we finished digging in the chicken manure (boy does that stuff stink) and planting the kale seedlings, we mulched the paths of the garden. It’s my hope that if the utility folks come tromping around in there again this year, they’ll stay on the paths and not be so destructive. Between them and the fencers, it was pretty much week after week of destruction last year.


We were mighty darn pleased with ourselves when we left. We’ll get at the flower borders later.

But this year will be better. At least we have hope that it will. And that’s enough to keep any gardener going.


We threw some compost on the small garden before we left. Look at those daffodils! They weren’t blooming last week…

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42 Responses to Ready, Set, Hands in the Dirt!!

  1. Isn’t it lovely to see the daffodils up! It doesn’t matter how easy a winter you have had weather-wise they are such a sign of hope and new beginnings! Now that the fences are up here’s hoping the pesky bunnies stay away and the growing and harvesting is good! Your little group has certainly made a good start.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Such warm weather and you’re gardening – wow, that is amazing to me! We still have at least 6″ of snow/ice to go, but a lot has already melted. Maybe spring will come early this year?


    • arlingwoman says:

      February came ban yesterday afternoon with a rainstorm and wind, but it’s supposed to be relatively warm this week–50’s to 60’s. The last two years we’ve had long, slow, cold springs, so I don’t want to guess, but I hope that snow and ice melts soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa, it’s nice to see you working in the garden in t-shirt weather no less. (Of course you’re behind the camera, but I’m assuming t-shirt weather. The designated paths and beds make great sense. People will surely use a path now that one is provided. It will be helpful for harvesting and planting as well, I imagine. Most of my garden time these days is cleanup. Raking pine needles after each storm and trying to nip the weeds in the bud before any of them can take hold. Your fence looks great. Let’s hope the constructions workers and the rabbits will remain safely on the other side. Grow, garden, grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Tang says:

    Maybe a sign that says ‘warning – fresh manure’ would help:) Nice to see all that activities.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. KerryCan says:

    You sound so happy and satisfied! The work you’re doing is full of optimism and promise–looking good!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sylvie G says:

    It looks promising. I hope it goes well. Here the summer has not been very good and as a result the price of vegetables is sky rocketing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. LB says:

    This year WILL be better! After all the work you and the others put in, you deserve a successful year! While I am bummed that we didn’t have winter, I am happy for those who have benefitted from the warm weather.
    Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Robin says:

    Wishing you a successful growing season this year, Lisa. You’re right about chicken manure. Phewwww… that stuff is nasty. There are chicken houses (the large, commercial kind) down the road from us. Fortunately, the wind rarely blows the odor in our direction. That said, I think one of the nearby farmers put some down in his field the other day. Yesterday’s rain cleared out the smell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      it was powerful. the funny thing was Jane had loaded the bags in her car, which her husband, unknowing, borrowed…When she realized, she texted him “s**t” and he texted back something to the effect of “no s**t. Why didn’t you use the pickup?”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lavinia Ross says:

    I like the paths in the garden. Good to see things in progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A good start of garden year and such hard work!!! Fingers crossed that every respects your doings and the weather gods will look with a favorable eye on all this (they should!) xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie Graves says:

    So nice! May your gardens flourish this year. I always love gardens best in the spring when they are green and tender and nothing has yet to both them.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Brenda says:

    Oh my, you are planting already! Let’s hope you have a bountiful garden this year and the pesky critters stay away. Hands in the dirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Robbie says:

    That garden looks amazing. How long have you all had this garden going? You got the warm weather we had last week. I went for a long bike ride in FEB!!! and it was 70 degrees…nuts! I have a lot of stuff starting buds-YIKES…sure hope we don’t have a hard freeze. More warm coming your way:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. karen says:

    Wonderful! Do you know Sara Venn? She has a similar project called Incredible Edible Bristol. So inspiring- both of you . Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bun Karyudo says:

    We used to keep chickens when I was a boy, so I can well imagine how that manure smells. I’ll bet when you opened the packaging, the ammonia just about knocked you backwards. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A fantastic start to the season!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Karen says:

    Hard work will lead to great results. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  18. thefolia says:

    I prefer dirt under the nails…I’m too impatient for manicures when I could be digging in the dirt. Happy gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

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