will admit that a person's relationship with potting soil is an intimate
one, and after surviving the ludicrous concept of "water
grabber" to then find a witches brew worthy only of mulch in a bag
describing itself as potting soil creates a circumstance that cannot be
Nor do I now think it extreme to add
Hardware Store to the list of garden pests. It is an insidious
creature, more seductive than the prettiest caterpillar and populated by
the many legs of that deceitful question "can I help
you?" Myself, increasingly these days the answer is
"No", without the "thank-you".
And this because grumpy old men assume we know better. Even if we
are no longer capable of reading small print. And even if we do annunciate
loudly with irritating insistence when confusion is expressed by that
peculiar generation of enthusiast who are still gainfully
The answer of course is further
advance into stoicism by making potting soil here from this land. The
fume kiln will cure it of devils four cubic feet at a time. I picture
it in an assortment of colorful plastic bags, sealed against predation, and
I will become miserly by releasing it one tablespoonful at a time.
Years ago when I tried such a thing in a
kitchen stove, I chose that percentage of earth which potting soil requires
from a part of ground that unknown to me a cat had found convenient on cold
days. When cooked, the feces of a meat eater owns a lasting
pungency that I think first drove me elsewhere for potting soil.
"Lessons learned," they are
called by the military, and already I have noticed at the hardware store
there is an increase in determination to be helpful. Which I guess is yet
one more symptom of economic uncertainty, and which in my view is not
actually the solution to wanton pruning of costs. And I say this
because contrary to the yearnings of the powerful those of us who want
potting soil are not yet idiots.