Digging in Georgia clay has reminded my of one thing that’s really been nice about being back in Florida: sand!
I know… people complain about the sand here. However, it’s truly a boon for the impatient gardener. You can dig a LOT in a short period of time, making getting to China that much easier than it is in clay soils.
|Even awesome tools can fail. Ow.
When I used to live in Tennessee, I had hard and rocky clay. I had almost forgotten the pain. Sure, clay has its own advantages. It holds moisture and minerals, plus allows you to line ponds and dye all your clothing rust-red. But still… it’s hard to dig.
This last week when I was in Georgia, I decided to put in a small garden with my young niece and nephew. I had brought beans to plant, I had my Clarington Forge spade and fork, and there was a good sunny spot… so all was well.
Or so I thought.
Once I started trying to dig, I realized we were in trouble. Even with forged heads and sharpened blades, the tools literally bounced off the ground.
I don’t mean figuratively: I DO mean literally.
The tools… bounced… off… the… ground.
The soil there was harder than it was in Tennessee. My guess is because it was a concrete-like mixture of clay and sand together. Another problem: beneath the top inch or two of wet ground after a rain, the ground beneath was hard and dry. Not good.
Since I didn’t have any dynamite, I decided it was time to take a trip to Lowes World to see if I could find something to chop at the ground.
As a side note: before leaving Florida, I tried to pack my amazing Easy Digging grub hoe but it wouldn’t fit in the back of the car. I think it would have done wonderfully (and its long handle was more ergonomic than what I ended up buying) but there was no way to pack it without letting it hang out of the side of the car.
The police hate things like that, so instead I bought one of these:
After sharpening the blade and putting in about two hours of hard labor with that pickaxe, I finished digging a 14″ or so deep bed for planting beans. The entire bed was about a 3′ x 7′ and it definitely gave me a workout, plus some good blisters. The tool came through like a champ.
All’s well that ends well, however. My niece and I had a great time planting beans.
Tomorrow I’ll show you what else we planted. This small suburban backyard will never be the same.