Monday, June 11, 2007

Free Dirt

(This is a cross-post from our Buy Nothing Summer blog.)

Our biggest accomplishment thus far in the eleven days of our Buy Nothing Summer adventure is planting a new garden with no money. Well, okay...we spent a little...lemme explain:



The dead grass pile in the before photo has been eluding the previous owners of this property for years. Everyone's had it tested, dug down to see what's up with the pipes underneath, everything. But grass would never grow here and there was no conclusion as to why.

We had our wonderful geologist friend, Rebecca, come over to test the soil again (verdict: pH neutral) and give us some pointers. She advised a bit of phosphorous to provide some nutrients for the plants and some good new soil on top.

Well, I don't know if we got good SOIL, but we did get good dirt. For FREE! What a perfect time to rediscover the Twin Cities Free Market! Free, free, free. What a wonderful way to spread the wealth among neighbors and avoid the dump.

We also learned that we could split about a gazillion plants that we already have on our property in various other spots to plant in the new garden, so the plant cost was zilch. We got to talking with neighbors (as always happens when we spend time in our front yard...hmm) and suddenly we had about a dozen plants from our across-the-street neighbor to add to our new garden.

Soil: FREE
Plants: FREE
Bat Guano (phosphorous): $5
Mulch: $9 (and we need another $18 total)
TOTAL: $23 for a brand-new garden

(Spending time with my thrifty husband throwing our own sweat equity into yet another garden that we can add to our list of garden creations: PRICELESS)

We're still looking for rocks for the border and intend to scavenge and thrift those out this summer. Anyone have a good lead on some rocks?

Plant List

• Purple Coneflower
• Black-eyed Susan
• Anemone
• Blanket Flower
• Daisy
Zebra Mallow
• a bunch of other things that I moved and can't remember the names of...


Debra said...

What a lovely garden-- and at a fabulous cost!

Becca said...

Beautiful! I love it - and how perfect that it mirrors the other garden spot in your boulevard. Lovely, thrifty, great work...and the less lawn to mow and deal with, the better!

Clare said...

Super, Catherine!! Looks great! And don't you feel so satisfied?

Kate_S said...

Looks great!!

Purple Purl Girl said...

My Mom got free rocks from Craig's list. She had to drive out to Dayton MN to get them so gas money was spent but the rocks were free and a kid helped her load them into her car. I think she had to bring containers for them.

Criosa said...

how big of rocks are you looking for? dh just dismantled a wannabe pond thing and we have quite a few from that that I doubt we'll be using anytime soon.

it'd be a bit of a drive though, unless you'd want to meet somewhere. (I drive to St Paul on Sunday's, so that'd be a possiblity)

email me: christyknits AT criosa DOT com if you're interested or want some pics or anything. I should probably verify that we don't want to use them elsewhere in the yard, but I'm pretty sure he'll be happy to see them go.