"Drop-Dead" Dirt

Yep, you read the title right…I’ve got “dirt” on my mind and not just any dirt. After all, spring planting is right around the corner! If you’re a farmgirl who LIKES the smell of damp, dark earth, and you don’t mind a little dirt under your nails, dig right into this post for the scoop on getting your hands on some ” Drop Dead Dirt “. You won’t believe how SIMPLE creating your own little GARDEN of EDEN can be.

The top photo is an image from our ” Seaside Garden ” last spring. I knew this wasn’t the most hospitable environment for new veggie seedlings because my handsome Yankee had just cleared the area of briars and weeds leaving behind dry, sandy soil. Just look at the difference between the soil in the raised bed and the cleared area.

Instead of planting in the ground we filled two small 4×4 raised beds with organic potting soil and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, basil and cilantro all which produced enough fresh veggies to add to our salads through the end of summer and early Fall while we were at the cottage. I transplanted some tiger lilies straight into the dirt because they thrive in other areas of the yard. I’m hoping they fared well over the winter and will be happy in their new “digs “this year!

 Even small Garden successes are to be celebrated!

Fresh from the vine cucumbers!

But, a new growing season is upon me and I want to do BETTER than last year! Don’t you? I don’t mean better just in what I *reap *, but also in how I * sow * my garden too. I want to understand better how to play with Gods ingredients to get the best possible results.

 Because we have chicken’s we don’t have much in the way of left over composting material. I toss most everything into the chicken run. I’m storing naturally composted dirt dug straight from the chicken run safely inside this composter we purchased from our local dump.

I want to grow more varieties of flowers and herbs for cutting and fresh juicy veggies for our health and well being.

I want to weed less, and I want to conserve my well water at home and at the cottage. I want to incorporate ” the offerings ” my ” girls ” give me more effectively into my garden too! We know chickens do amazing things to soil, but making sure it gets out of the run and into the Garden where it belongs is key.

I want an easier daily routine and to feel less overwhelmed about gardening in general. I want to feel the same rush of excitment during the * planning stages * of my Gardens when I’m working in them. What say you farmgirls?  Do you think I’m asking for too much? What I really want is a self- sustainable gardening system! And I believe I’ve found it!

I learned about this revolutionary gardening system from Clint Baker of The Redeemed Gardner blog. He’s a” farmboy at heart ” who was brave enough to link up to my Farmgirl Friday blog hop a few weeks ago. I’m so glad he did! He’s a wonderful asset to our blogging community and an inspiration to boot! Once a farmer on many acres, now living in the burbs, he shares his journey of farming in raised beds on a 2000 square foot patch of UN-used land between his backyard fence and a stretch of railroad tracks.

He’s got some serious can-do spirit! You can take the Farmboy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the Farmboy!

Clint recently shared a video link on his blog called  ” Back to Eden “  that quite frankly has me re-thinking most gardening advice I’ve read about and practiced when it comes to soil prepartion, soil ammendment and how to use organic matter most effectively whether you are a backyard Gardner or the Farmer who grows for market. After I watched it TWO TIMES THROUGH I knew I had to share it with my sisters as well!

Paul Gautschi’s story about his talks with God in the Garden will grab you right from the beginning!

Hollyhock from my garden last summer.

I’m beyond inspired and I know you will be too when you see and hear about these Godly Garden Secrets for yourself! Pour yourself something yummy, sit back and get ready for the garden revelation of the century! Be sure to come back here to finish reading this post and tell me what you think!

From my largest garden last summer.

Here are a few things I’ve already decided to do differently in my gardens after watching the video.

1. Use wood chips and garden waste to mulch my existing gardens.

2. Instead of burning our yard waste (we get a lot of leaves, twigs and branches here in New England) from now on we’ll chip it and set it aside to be used in the gardens

3. Store the composted soil from the chicken run so I’ll have nice fertile soil at the ready for top dressing twice a year and for adding to new plants as well.

4. Make sure I have plenty of ” cover ” material in all gardens to eliminate weeds, keep moister levels balanced, and provide a home for earthworms; Gods rototiller’s!

5. Pay more attention to how God does things in nature and copy HIM more often.

Hmmm? I wonder if chippers come in hot pink or red?

Plans for future Pottager/Cutting Garden are under way! Now that I’ve got the ” scoop ” on how to get the most out of my dirt, I’m burying myself in Cut Flower Info. Sarah Raven in particular!

Pinterest Image Inspiration Photo! I AM SO THERE!!!

Here’s the before pic. I’ll keep you posted as we progress!

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has

genius, power, and magic in it.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Until our next shoreline visit~

I’m wishing you an abundance of garden revelations and an extra SHOVEL FULL of farmgirl boldness to get going on your GARDEN OF EDEN too!

Beach Blessings,



  1. Clint Baker says:

    I am so honored to be mentioned. It has been a joy to share what little bits I know, I only hope what little I do share will help and inspire others. I must say though, I give God all the glory for everything that I do, with out Him nothing would be possible. I also must say that you have to have a very supporting spouse, which I do, she gives me much inspiration as well! The big thing with gardening is to have fun and enjoy what you have been blessed with, never let it become work. Thank you again Debbie and blessings to all!

    Hi there Clint! Nice to see you here!  Having a supportive spouse makes everything we do so much easier. Just yesterday my hubby helped me find a better spot than the one I had orginally chosen for my coveted  future hoop house! Thanks so much for all you share…and Happy Gardening! xo Deb

  2. Jan says:

    I can see that good old SPRING FEVER has struck in your neck of the woods! We discovered the labor intensity that is involved with having our garden areas a few years ago. My hubby used to work on alot of highway jobs, so he had access to the heavy-duty type of weed barrier, one that does not break down. Our whole garden area is 95% covered and we cut holes for our veggie pockets, everything from cucumbers to tomato vines. Not only does it regulate the heat, but helps immensely with the moisture loss. The only thing that I don’t like about it is the way that it looks, kind of black and utilitarian, in other words UGLY. I also think that it has massive amounts of mice colonies, maybe voles (?) underneath it..
    Back in the day, my folks had a fellow bring in beautiful soil for our garden area from a bog area nearby and his business was called ‘Wirt’s Dirt’. That was all he did, formulate and deliver DIRT….Another cottage industry!
    I am preparing to watch the ‘Back to Eden’ video. I took a peek and I love the concepts behind it!
    You have to try ‘Tendergreen’ cucumbers in you garden. They have a thin skin and you can just grab them and CRUNCH..No peeling required…
    I am excited for you and your gardening endeavors!

    Hello dear Jan! LOL!!! Yes, I guess you could say Spring Fever has struck…:) We’ve had such a mild winter that my need to be outside has come much earlier than previous years. Thanks goodness cuz as usual I have bigger plans than any one season allows for! Hehehheh!!! The Tendergreen’s sound lovely and I like the no peeling part too… Thanks for reading my dear! xo sister Deb

  3. Dana Baker says:

    Hello Deb!! It was so nice of you to mention Clint’s (I’m the other half) blog here! He is doing a great job on his blog and his garden, very proud of him.
    I love the seaside garden, makes me want to go there but of course I would have to leave the digging to the hubby as I would want to be stitching while enjoying the sea air. And I love the Pinterest inspiration photo, what a beautiful garden! Reminds me somewhat of the gardens in Williamsburg Virginia. Have a wonderful weekend!!

    So nice to meet you Dana! It’s clear he consider’s you a big part of his gardening adventures…I’ve got a nice big cypress tree I sit under at the beach where I love to  read gardening books while I watch my hubby dig… ( I do help too ) I love it! Have a wonderful weekend and come see us again… here and at Dandelion House!

    xo Deb

  4. Debbie, thank you for this wonderful post. And especially thank you for sharing the "Back to Eden" video. I have been transfixed this morning…I garden in an apartment backyard on a very small scale, but I put down newspaper over a 6’X10′ chunk of grass about a month ago, covered with soil. I look forward to adding the wood chips and incorporating the techniques from Paul’s movie. Thank you again!

    Hi Fawn,

    Yes, why not add those wood chips! Perfect no matter the size of your garden plot! I believe Clint is going to try this method in his raised beds and I’m going to be using it in my new Backyard Flower  Farming venture too! Keep us posted won’t you? Thanks for reading! xo sister Deb

  5. Darlene says:

    What I love about our Mary Jane-ers is that we all are so deeply passionate about the wonders of God’s creation and long to be a personal part "in" it. The wind, the waves, the fields and farms call us all. Thanks you for your words so fitly spoken!
    Darlene (Ava, Missouri sister)

    Darlene, Your comment gave me shiver’s! It’s so true how we Mary Jan-ers ( love that ) are all so deeply passionate about all of nature and our desire to be in the midst of it where ever we live. Thank you for your note today… xo sister Deb

  6. Debra says:

    I watched the video. So interesting, thank you for sharing!

    Hello Debra! You’re welcome! Thanks so much for reading! xoDeb

  7. Nancy says:

    Oh, Deb, what an inspiration! I, too, am wanting to enjoy working in my garden as much as planning it (which will be quite a challenge with 90+ temps and humidity most of the summer). Thank you for the heads-up about Clint’s blog. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty!


    Good luck Nancy! We have similar high temps and humidity too for part of the summer so keeping those weeds at bay and moisture at a high is very important… I’m really looking forward to implementing the " covering " methods too! Thanks for reading! xo Deb

  8. Becky says:

    That film totally answered my prayers! I have been so frustrated and last year didn’t even do a garden…I am so inspired now. Can’t wait. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Hi Becky! I was feeling the same way as far as veggies go but now I’m ready to try again! So glad you are ready too! Keep us posted! xo Deb

  9. Laura says:

    your excitement is contagious, thanks!!
    xo Laura
    p.s. your seaside garden and cottages are ‘pinterest’ pin-tastic!

    Hi Laura! Well, thanks! xo Deb

  10. OH, first off, I LOVE your seaside place…so adorable. I live near the sea myself, so it’s nice to see that it’s still possible to grow stuff, even near the ocean 🙂 🙂 I"m still in the "planning" stages, because I’ve got to make sure I"ve got the money to buy supplies. However, I do LOVE reading about other people are actually doing this…gardening and growing food 😉 🙂 In our area we have LOTS of deer and gophers. That’s something we have to contend with here, since they both think the front/backyards are the endless snack bar 🙂 🙂 Have a great weekend. I’m going to check out some of the sites you mentioned 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of CAlifornia, Heather 🙂

    Hi Heather! Yes, something about the sea air really agrees with flowers and veggies where we are! You keep planning and dreaming…  Have you looked on freecycle in your area for needed supplies? I’m going to start looking for old doors and windows form my upcycled garden room! Where there’s a will there’s a way right? Thanks s much for reading and your note too! xo Deb

  11. OMG, I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I am to have seen that video. AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to get my wood chips and get going and I can’t wait to call around and find someone to drop them off and start building me some piles like he had. I absoblutely could sit and listen to that guy all day and learn from him. He is such an inspiration and I love the way he gives God all the credit. I can’t wait to go back and order the dvd with footage showing how to prune. This was so timely as I have been diligent this year as well about researching how to have the best care free garden I can have and to do it organic. I am so impressed. I started last year with the newspaper and compost but not the wood chips. I’m soo excited now I can hardly wait until time to plant. And the part about saving water. I too am on a well, and hate to use my water wastefully. My chickens will come in handy as well. Until your next blog, BE BLESSED and I can’t wait to see what you grow this year.

     Hi Vivian Isn’t that video just the best? I felt the same way… Asnwers to so many of my gardening prayers! Keep us posted on how it works for you and I’ll do the same! Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely note! xo Deb

  12. I forgot to tell you, I have a green house made out of old windows that I bought at a antique shop/junk shop and I pay $1 ea for them and my husband framed them together to make me a potting shed/greenhouse. I got my door which is smaller panes with a glass door knob at habitat for humanity for $5. My friend and I painted on the windows scenes on the inside so the front windows are summer, the sides are spring and fall and the back windows are winter. I call it the four seasons. I wish I knew how to send you a picture. then I have it all fenced off about 30ft by 30ft and I have raised bed inside and container gardens. if you know how I can send picture tell me and I will. again BE BLESSED

    Oh your garden house sounds just wonderful! If you can get a jpeg off of your computer you can email one to me! I would love to see it!

    xo Deb

  13. Jeanne says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have read many books from the library and even purchased a couple and still can’t grow fresh veggies. My ground here is so hard and dried up I thought I would have to buy a tiller and now I know I don’t have to. I watched the Back to Eden DVD and loved it and bought it to watch over and over again. I loved the scriptures and references. I bought lumber to build a raised garden last fall. I found some plans on how to build it, but when I tried to purchase the mesh for the bottom it comes in large sheets (to stop weeds) it was too expensive. All my wood and hardware are sitting in my garage. I felt so defeated. Now I just need to contact my friendly tree trimmer for wood chips and ask my neighbors to save their newspapers for me. I am so excited. Blessings, Deb

    Hi Jeanne! You are most welcome. I hoped everyone would be as excited as I was about the " covering "method of gardening…AND the inspiration behind it. Do keep us posted on how things go for you! So glad you will try again! Blessings to you and yours too! xo Deb

  14. Shery says:

    Dear Deb, What a welcome escape! This is the time of year out here when you really start to ache for springtime. I so look forward to seeing your garden plots this summer. It was a treat just seeing the planning stages. I’m hoping a greenhouse might be in my future. C’mon spring!

    Hi Shery! I hear ya! We are ready for Spring here too! We’ve had such a mild winter here my spring engine is raring to go.  Glad to have you along as always my dear! xo Deb

  15. Carol says:

    Thank you for the link to the Back to Eden video! I have forwarded it to all my gardening friends. I have been using the Ruth Stout method of deep mulch gardening for 3 1/2 years and it has made a wonderful difference for me in Alabama. We have been faced with severe droughts for years and the hay has kept the soil cooler, moister, and richer. No more tilling. I have earthworms and hardly any weeds. I was sold on keeping the ground covered years ago and now I know of another source of mulch to use. By word of mouth people come to see my garden and many are now covering their garden year round with mulch. Paul’s video was very well done and it is right to give all the glory to God. It is so exciting to grow your own food and know how good it is for you!

    You’re welcome Carol! It’s great to hear you have been having success with this method already! How fun to have folks visit your garden and learn from you! Good for you ( and your visitors) . Thanks so much for reading Carol… xo Deb

  16. Linda Walton says:

    I can hardly wait to start my garden this year! Thanks for sharing the Back To Eden website. After telling a friend about what I was going to do with my garden this year, she told me where I can get chicken manure and even mushroom soil. I bought a composter at the end of Fall and I’m so excited about using it. My husband and I also fish so I also have plans to start a small worm farm. It’s so nice to be able to share my plans with people who are just as excited as I am. Most people just shake their heads and laugh.

    Dear Linda, This sounds great! Love your plans! I know what you mean. Thank God for the Maryjanesfarm and all the ways we can connect, share and dream! Thanks so much for your note today and happy gardening! xo Deb

  17. Howdy terrific blog! Does running a blog such as this take a
    large amount of work? I’ve very little knowledge of programming but I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject however I simply needed to ask. Appreciate it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *