Monday, July 21, 2008

Responsibility Kicks In

You know, Farmer B is a responsible guy. He does all the responsible "man" things that you'd hope a husband would do. He makes sure we have every feature possible in our house alarm system, he makes sure both dogs get their heartworm pills on time every month, and he makes sure that we never run out of beer. But he skimped on the soil testing and tossed down lime and 6-6-6 on our garden anyway. That is until a trip to Lowe's this weekend to buy seeds for our August planting. After searching the entire garden center of Lowe's with no avail, we asked an employee where to find their seed packets. Her response "Seeds? This time of year? No, we only carry seeds in the spring" (insert condescending chuckle here).

Since we doubted that insanity we went inside the store to look around, when Farmer B saw something we couldn't live without: a "Do It Yourself" soil testing kit. Apparently soil testing is only for chumps when it involves driving around town looking for the soil testing office, but soil testing is for winners when it involves an intricate system of test tubes and hazardous colored pellets that you can do in your own home. So we are now the proud owners of the "Soil Master Soil Testing Kit." This is one intense little kit. The first step involves getting your soil from your garden. It turns out that you have to dig down 6 to 8 inches every three feet and get a spoon-sized sample and place these samples in a cup (in our case a flourescent green beach bucket) to get a "representative sample" of your soil. Then you let your soil dry out on a sheet of paper towel overnight and begin the testing process the next day. Newsflash: our soil is a muddy heap o' goo right now thanks to all the rain we've been having. If you have followed this blog you'll know that we had a deluge of biblical proportions recently and our yard still has not dried out. Turns out this deluge was thanks for newly-formed Tropical Storm Cristobal.

So, Farmer B dug down and brought in a half-bucketfull of dirt, that is so wet that it left a big puddle of water on the table when we dumped it out on the paper towel.
This morning it was my job to change the paper towel under our wet clump o' soil to help it dry out quicker. You know life has changed for you when you're not only changing diapers, but changing your paper towel underneath your soil sample. If the day comes when the soil actually dries out I then get the fun job of picking out all the sticks, rocks, leaves and other non-soil bits that could "skew the testing results", as the instruction manual says. This should be fun because our wet sample appears to be made up of at least 50% random crap and 50% soil. Then I have to use the back of a spoon and crush any lumps larger than a pea. How far of a drive is that soil testing office again?

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