66 / Talking Dirty


Welcome to For F*ture’s Sake! A half-assed attempt to live sanely on planet earth.

Reading time: 3 minutes

Shit! The seed company just emailed me to say: “There's a large back order on seeds at the moment. We will get them out to you as soon as possible.”

As soon as possible? That's vague-speak for, who the hell knows!

The soil company offered little hope either: “Due to a significant increase in orders because of Covid-19, our deliveries may take longer than normal.”

And they can’t even be reached by phone!

Well, at least that’s rookie error #1 out of the way: Don’t begin growing season with nothing to grow! 

In fairness, I placed the orders six weeks ago, so it’s not like I entered spring underprepared. Undersupplied more-like.

Stemming The Tide

The pandemic makes work for idle hands. It seems everyone else is planning a micro-smallholding too.  

And more power to them. Planting seeds in a climate crisis feels like the most noble and revolutionary act.

Modernity has created a learned helplessness. Over the last hundred years or so, there's been an enormous shift away from self-reliance toward dependency; especially for our food. And that's worrying.

So, for what it’s worth, anything that builds resilience — to help stem the tides of industrialisation and monoculture — deserves a hearty thumbs. Even if it slows down my progress.

Green Grass Of Home

I thought about cancelling the topsoil order and creating beds with dirt from the garden. 

Currently, I'm digging a land drain to address the small matter of a rogue watercourse under my lawn. Needless to say, I’ll have a veritable muck mountain, and it’ll have to go somewhere.

But even a novice like me knows — topsoil that’s nourished nothing but a verdant lawn, offers little nutritional density for vegetables. So instead, I ordered the Rolls Royce of dirt: "a peat-free mix of screened topsoil, composted green material and horticultural grit."

Why peat-free?

In spite of it's amazing properties, using peat these days, in any way, shape or form, is the sartorial equivalent of letting your nose hang out over your face mask.

Aka, it’s not a good look.

Peat bogs once blanketed about one-fifth of Ireland’s surface. The little that still remains acts as a carbon sink, and helps prevent flooding. A soggy brown field to some, is actually a precious ecosystem to everyone else. Peat bogs must be preserved.

Conditioner For The Soil

So, while I wait for the topsoil to arrive, I'll store my mound of muck at the end of the garden and compost it over the coming months. And with a bit of luck, next year, it’ll be transformed into a nutrient dense, living fertiliser.

I’ve even built a compost bin to house it.

If my sketch gives the impression I designed it myself — good! That was my intention. But between you and me, I actually just googled "how to make a compost bin" and followed this five minute YouTube video.

Bite-sized gardening lesson:

If you're inclined to build your own bin, make sure to use tanalized, pressure-treated timber. It’s basically a long-lasting wood preservative that won’t leach dodgy chemicals into your food.

With the compost bin complete, a troubling week of late lorries and shit soil ended well. As for the remaining timber, next up, I’ll be building some raised beds. I want to be ready for their contents, should they ever bloody arrive!

In other surprising, and slightly daunting news; Smallholders Ireland have asked me to curate their Twitter account next week. If you’re interested, follow @smallholdersIRL, where I’ll regale you with tales from my seven pathetic weeks spent setting up a micro, city smallholding.

Otherwise, until next week, take care - S