On the Ropes - Tom Roper

On the Ropes - Tom Roper

In search of a perfect load of dirt

Tom is pumped about spring and getting the garden ready for food growing

Ah, Spring. I love winter but as the days get a bit longer, spring cannot come soon enough. And when the geese and cranes are passing overhead there is a small feeling of elation; ya, baby, we made it through another one.

As the snow melts and the water starts running there is no better feeling to bring you up than the poplar tree leaves coming out. That green just makes you feel good, no matter what ails you.

The next item on the agenda is getting the garden in order. This year we bought a greenhouse off the side of the road out of Vanderhoof. Hauled her home and Rob at North Country Rentals had an extended forklift to unload and we were in business.

Oh yes, there is one more thing, the need for a bit of dirt. I remember quite clearly the problems my friends, the Harmati’s, on Zobnik road had. They had purchased some manure from their neighbour and spread it throughout their garden. Unfortunately the manure came from cows that had eaten hay that had been sprayed with Grazon.

LAST WEEK: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. How about a little for our beautiful environment

This product is not good. Everything in their garden died, even the raspberries. I Googled Grazon and their basic warnings were enough to scare you away.

“Do not harvest grass for hay within 30 days. Withdraw meat animals from treated area three days before slaughter.”

The company states a successful application provides at least two years of improved grass production. I am not sure that spraying and killing all the plants and creatures is worth it.

So the search began and on to the websites, Ask Smithers and B.V.Homesteaders we went. I found a few places and called to find out the quality of the dirt. There is a fair amount of dirt available through the local gravel pit operators but we only needed a pickup load for our garden boxes.

We got lucky and located a farmer, John, out in Quick. John said he does not use any chemicals in his production of hay and he only sells his manure after it has cured and sat in piles for three to four years.

John said his wife Joanne can grow anything with this dirt. He had a tractor with a bucket to load and we had shovels to unload. John said he had sold several pickup loads this spring and was glad to see people trying to grow their own food.

The operative word being “trying” and that’s what we are going to do.

Please contact me if you have any spring stories or any community events that Smithereens and neighbours should know about. My email is tr.ranch@hotmail.comand my cell is 250-877-1806.



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