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Urban Gardening: My Organic Dirt Patch

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Inspired by the incredible urban gardens Jim Sherman tends in the Fifth Ward, I decided to take a shot at the urban gardening thing myself.

So I went to Wabash Feed Store and bought some dirt and some locally made organic fertilizer. San Jacinto Environmental Supplies on 34th St. makes its Microlife fertilizer out of seaweed and fish juice and that sort of stuff. Gardening types rave about its miraculous properties.

I got home and tore out a patch of jasmine in a landscape bed and replaced the soil with the store-bought stuff. I didn't buy enough. I had to go buy some more at a soil yard. I got a mushroom compost, rice hull and mulch mix and added some humus and manure. When I was all done, I had converted a bed of greenery into a dirt patch.

"That sure looks ugly," my housemate said when I summoned her to admire my handiwork. "When is it going to have some vegetables in it?" Jim Sherman warned not to expect anything for a year or so. The raised beds he showed me were ten years old and had been heavily composted, he explained. Another friend, Bobette Riner, told me that when she tried to build three raised bed gardens at her house, only one of them was successful.

I better get some tomatoes or something out of this deal by the summer, or I am going to be replanting jasmine in some very expensive organic dirt.

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