Saturday, April 16, 2016

This Week (Dirt, Dandelions, and Dumpster-Diving)

The seeds are bursting
The spring is seeping
Lay down beside me
Love ain’t for keeping. 
                       ~The Who

I planted an onion top from a kitchen scrap.
Will it make a new onion? Time will tell!
I’m not going to lie... it’s been a rough few weeks lately. Emotional issues, medical bills, generally sad things happening (also good but stressful things happening, like crunch week for the plays I helped direct)— all told, I feel pretty worn out. But fortunately, this rough time has coincided with one of the most beautiful St. Louis springs I can ever remember, and the sunshine and mild weather and blossoming of the world around me has been a blessing. I’ve taken every opportunity to get out and enjoy this rare and lovely spring.

One of my big projects a couple weeks ago was building a tomato bed. I dug up a long strip along the side of my yard, then gathered all the compost at the bottom of my pile and dug it into the rich clay, creating a raised bed. A few days ago I mixed some Dutch white clover seeds with a couple bags of topsoil and sprinkled them over the top. Dutch white clover is returns nitrogen to the soil, produces flowers that bees love, and is just darn pretty, so I’m going to use it as a “living mulch” for my tomatoes and peppers, which I’ll be planting later this week. 

Clover seeds

My spinach, kale and peas are sprouting nicely, and this week I’ll plant carrot seeds and my pepper seedlings that have been growing in the basement. Our apple trees have leafed out and the Arkansas black actually has tiny buds that look like they might flower.

Speaking of flowers, our yard has come alive with them: violets (my all time favorite), purple nettle, and strawberry blossoms. There are also a fair share of dandelions, and you know what? I think it’s awesome. A couple days ago I ate lunch outside and watch honeybees humming from dandelion to dandelion, their legs dusted with bright yellow pollen. Honeybees can’t get pollen from a lawn— they rely on “weeds” like these to give them food.

Yesterday my best friend and I dug up a little patch of lawn and planted a wildflower mix. I’m hoping the bees and birds will like some of these flowers, and I can’t wait to see what grows! We put a trellis on one side and I plopped my raspberry plants on the patio, because I still can’t decide where to plant them.

And yes, the title did say dumpster diving. Despite my paralyzing fear of trespassing/getting in trouble, I have officially stolen someone else’s trash twice this week. The first were two yard waste bags left out on the curb— Zach and I drove up late at night and nabbed them since our yard has almost no leaves in it. It was a good score. Aside from a few cigarette butts and pieces of plastic pots, the bags were filled with a mix of dried leaves. My compost pile is revived!

The second score were a set of four decorative trellises, just sitting on top of a giant dumpster container near a business a couple blocks away. Emboldened by the midday lull in which few of our neighbors are home, I trekked over to the dumpster and pulled them out, hauling them home while trying to look very confident. They’re so pretty! I’m excited to figure out how to incorporate them into our yard.

I hope you guys are having a good week. Now go out and take a walk, smell the dandelions, and enjoy this gorgeous spring weather before summer bludgeons us! 


I was going to dig up this bed, but the strawberry and nettle and violets were just too pretty! So I'm planting random stuff
in the bare patches instead (two onions and an anemic basil seedling so far— we'll see what else I find to plant there).


  1. Going through other people's trash can be really rewarding! I filched three drums from a broken drum kit in someone's skip the other week, and I'm planning on planting flowers in them. They're a bit rusty, but still a really bright blue colour - very pretty.

    1. What a cool idea! I love "upcycled" plant containers, and that idea sounds really creative. :)