Uh-oh, I have run out of pots and dirt.

I have not run out of plants and seeds.

As I posted earlier, I took two days off work last week to plant my garden. Thankfully, the weather was perfect – sunny but not hot. Because of my back and joint pain, I could only work in short spurts and then I would have to go inside, put my feet up, and sit with ice. After an hour or so, I would go out for another work period. It seemed like taking one step forward and two or three steps back but over the course of the week, I got a lot done.

Now, this wasn’t just simply putting a plant or seed into a pot. No, since we were unable to get a pickup truck bed of garden soil from the nursery this year, I had to make dirt for my containers first. Then I had to fill them.

If you haven’t checked lately, the price of bagged dirt has jumped in price significantly. What hasn’t?! It’s nearly triple in price cost of what it was. Considering the number of containers I need to fill this year, there was just no way I will pay that price. Gardening is not supposed to be a budget-killer. So, I went back to what I learned a couple of years ago and created my own. I purchased Top Soil at $3.50 a bag, added perlite and peat moss, and mixed it thoroughly. This is what I half-filled my fabric pots with.

Base Soil Mix: Top Soil, peat moss, and perlite

The top layer was filled with Happy Frog Potting Soil that I purchased in January at half the price Home Depot is charging. Happy Frog Potting Soil is organic, pH adjusted soil amended with beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi that supports root development and enables plants to feed aggressively. Doing it this way (base soil on the bottom, Happy Frog on top), the plants are transplanted in the layer of really healthy soil, and I’ve only paid about a third of what it would have cost to just dump expensive bags of container/potting soil in the fabric bags.

Happy Frog added – ready to plant

Over the course of the 4-day weekend, and the few minutes I could plant each evening after work the rest of the week, I was able to plant the rest of my peas and the corn (I would poke holes in the dirt with a stick and Oscar would do the bending to put the seed in the ground), cosmos (as a trap crop for corn earworm and Japanese beetles).

Corn in front, trellises for the peas to climb in back, the pots under the trellis have Kabocha squash and cucumbers

I also planted a bed of nasturtiums (also a trap crop for creepy crawlies).

It doesn’t look like much now but soon it will be overflowing with color

From the seedlings that I grew, I transplanted six tomatoes, two kabocha squash, and six sweet peppers.

From the plants I picked up in my Farmers Market Haul, I planted the cucumber, three snapdragons, three petunias, the peppermint, the white geranium, two basil, two rosemary, two lemon grass, four marigolds, and the lemon balm.

I still have about three dozen plants and a half dozen seed crops to plant — after I replenish my dirt and pot supply.

In the foreground: the geranium and marigolds are guarding the apple trees
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