A Big Yellow Bag.
A what? Well, if you live in middle Tennessee, you need what actually comes in a Big Yellow Bag. Yesterday at the 2016 Nashville Lawn and Garden Show I discovered the most unique garden-starter product I have ever seen: one cubic yard of very high quality garden soil...delivered in a Big Yellow Bag. I've got to tell you about it.
But first, here are a few tips I got from Randall Keele on small-scale gardening:
- If you are growing vegetables in containers, then every two years change the soil. Recycle the semi-spent soil into your landscaping and turf. There are still some nutrients for your yard and shrubs, just not enough for your tomatoes and kale.
- With high-quality composted soil (like Big Yellow Bag) you can make a "compost tea" which you can use to add nutrients to the soil around your fruit bushes or houseplants.
Now, here's what's to love about "The Bag":
- The soil itself is vegetable garden ready. It is fully composted grass clipping, other organic matter (all FREE of pesticides and herbicides), and manure from a next-door dairy farm. The company is looking toward an OMRI (organic) certification.
- The amount is PERFECT for a beginner gardener! One cubic yard will fill a 6' X 4' raised bed at 12 inches high...plus a little left over for a couple of container plants. Or, if you are double digging (that's worth a whole other post), you could fill two 6' X 4' beds at 6 inches, plus a little left over.
- The storage method is what wowed me! As a beginner gardener, you usually don't have time to set up all of the projects you want to do at once. (We didn't, at least.) That means you have two options: either purchase numerous bags of lower-quality soil at "big-box" stores and haul it yourself, or purchase a cubic yard at a nursery.
That nursery cubic yard of soil is usually high-quality - but it is dumped in a mound on your yard. Then when you only use part of it this season, you have to shovel it somewhere else and cover it with a tarp. Why? So rain doesn't wash it away or (hopefully) weed-seeds don't get in it. We experienced this back-breaking mound of an eye-sore for over a year. Yuck!
But, since this is delivered to you in a huge sturdy re-sealable bag, when you have leftovers you (plus a friend or two, depending on the weight of the leftover soil), move the re-sealed bag to the side of your house or inside your garage. Then next season just open the bag again, still weed and water free.
- The cost? Reasonable. Compared to a nursery's vegetable-garden soil, delivered and dumped on your yard, it is approximately the same (assuming they will deliver a single cubic yard). Compared with the same amount (27 cubic feet) in small bags at the "big-box" stores, it is also approximately the same...of course, you are delivering and unloading it all yourself and the quality is not as good.
- Bottom line? If you are starting a small garden and you live in middle Tennessee, talk to the Big Yellow Bag company at 615-274-3009 before you purchase your soil. If you live elsewhere, tell your local organic sod companies to start composting this product for you.
Regardless, keep growing some of your own healthy food. Live a ViREO Life!