I’ve never had my soil tested but if I ever did, I am pretty sure it would get a big fat F. It’s mostly clay and hard as a rock. It’s terrible and I hate it.
In contrast, the rich loamy Red River Valley soil of Northeast Texas where I’m from is like chocolate cake mix. I’m so jealous.
I couldn’t begin to know how much good dirt I have paid for in the last twenty-five years trying to amend this awful dirt that I have. I just know it’s a lot. And dirt is not dirt cheap, not when you need a lot of it, so whoever started that expression should think again.
I just added twelve 40-pound bags of it to this bed alone.
That’s 480 pounds for just one bed.
Once the good stuff is added and worked in, though, I can plant what I want for a a few seasons–until I need to do it all over again. The bad dirt always seems to come back unfortunately.
I could save money in the long run by purchasing good soil in bulk–and I’ve done that many times–but I don’t have a truck anymore to haul it home and the delivery fee is ridiculous.
Rather than give up completely, I have learned to rely on plants that do not care if they live in terrible soil or not. Here they are, my go-to plants for crappy soil:
I have these plants everywhere in my yard.
I started with a six-dollar investment in two lamb’s ears plants years ago. I divide them and spread the love around on a regular basis. Now I have maybe fifty times what I started with. What I love most about lamb’s ears, besides their fuzzy texture, is the color. They’re an interesting silvery green that compliments everything else, especially anything purple.
I was given some free monkey grass over twenty years ago. It multiplies like crazy and takes the heavily shaded part of my backyard. I weed eat it within an inch of its life in late winter before the new growth starts. It’s a lot of work because I have so much of it, but once it starts to grow again I feel the rewards.
The Wandering Jew was free also. It requires little water and will take hot sun and some shade as well. I love the purple color.
I also have the green variety which likes the shade. Again, free. I love free.
It’s good to know that no matter how poor my soil may be, I can count on these plants year after year. They’re keepers.