There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within. Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials. So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.
One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw. And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful. It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth. My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool? I can’t imagine the work it would have been. With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.
There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw… nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch. Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump. But the next step? It makes it all worth the effort!
Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath? It’s pure heaven. Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does. Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.
I’m not a gardener. I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days. But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth. If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected? There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil. To create with it something amazing.
A bit cornball? Maybe. But that’s me.
Today we’re going to do things a little different. Instead of just sharing a photo with you, I’ve got ten. And the wee girlie and I, will share our steps to making your own starter garden. No need to have a greenhouse, when you have reusable items laying around the house.
Gather all your materials! Lily-Ann says you’ll need “toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls. And things to put in the toilet paper rolls: DIRT!” But you’ll also need clear containers, scissors, and seeds.
“Cut the tubes!” Roughly in half is perfect.
Show off your tubes! Okay. LOL You caught us. It’s not really a step… but the wee girlie wanted to show off the tubes she helped cut. LOL
Lily-Ann, we can’t keep calling these steps if you’re just wanting to share pictures of what you’ve done. Folks are going to stop reading. We need to tell them what to do so they can plant seeds inside too. “Okay momma. Uno mas?” Okay, Kid Kid, one more.
“Snip, snip, snip the tubes.”
That’s right, cut (or snip) several slits into the side of each tube half. Cut about half way up the side, and put between four and six slits in each one.
“Now like this…” Lily-Ann demonstrates in the air how to fold the tubes. “See?”
“I don’t remember… You tell me Mother?” hehehe… Next you put the soil – “DIRT!” – yes, dirt, into each tube. Do this AS you are folding tubes. You need the moisture and weight of the dirt to hold the folded bottoms together. They will just keep popping open otherwise. Trust me, we tried folding a bunch first. LOL It didn’t work.
We’re almost done. “Now Seeds!!!” That’s right. Open a package of seeds, and pick out a seed.
“Put it right in the middle with dirt all around.” Got that? Pop a seed into the middle of each toilet paper tube starter. Just leave it sitting out on the top. As you’ll see from our picture, it doesn’t have to be RIGHT in the middle. A toddlers estimation of “middle” is perfect. 🙂 And honestly? I’m sure if one or two get stuck right on the edge of the roll they’d sprout just fine.
Cover the seeds (if required) with a thin layer of soil, then close the containers and “Go play upstairs!”
Okay, so the process is a little long to hold the rapt attention of a two and a half year old for it’s entirety. But I thought she did pretty good. She helped every step of the way – including uploading my photos AND writing this post. Her exclamation of Go Play was the end though, with it, she lept off the chair and ran off to entertain herself elsewhere.
Hope this gives you the courage to try a little repurposing of your own. 🙂 It’s super easy to take household garbage and give it a new life. Even in a project as easy as this one. Toilet paper rolls would have made it into our compost (where the plants would have gotten them eventually anyway) and the flimsy bakery plastic that one occasionally brings home on a whim would have ended up in a landfill. So hold onto them next time and you’ll have a mini-greenhouse for your toilet paper tube starters. Your own little counter top garden.