As of last night Jeffry and I have three completed raised beds filled up with dirt and connected to irrigation. We ordered the dirt on Sunday with a planned delivery of Monday afternoon. In our excitement to fill in our beds and get to planting, we didn't think about the fact that the weather forecast was calling for rain on Monday evening, Tuesday and Wednesday. Once we got home and realized our foolishness, we decided we'd just have to set straight to work the second we got home Monday to get the dirt into the beds before the rain. Even though the wheel barrow had a flat tire, Jeff managed to get the largest raised bed filled up during his lunch break. When I got home I grabbed a couple of five gallon buckets and shuttled dirt from the driveway to the beds while Jeff fixed the tire. It sprinkled on us a bit, and for a while I felt like Dorothy as the wind picked up speed. Luckily it only took us about an hour working together to get all the beds in the front yard and the wine barrels on the side of the house filled up. It made our pile small enough that we could cover it with a tarp and then we headed inside for some hot showers and a warm meal.
Getting dirt delivered in bulk is definitely the way to go. It cost us a little under a dollar for a cubic foot instead of $1.95 for 3/4 of a cubic foot at Wal-mart, and the place we ordered from was just up the street so there was no delivery cost. That cost difference is a big deal when you're ordering 100 cubic feet of dirt! We will be ordering some bark from the same place in the next couple of weeks to fill in around the raised beds.
Some good things to know before you go shopping for dirt: know exactly how much you need and take a calculator. I had calculated how much we needed in cubic feet, but they sold it by the cubic yard. Jeff and I felt quite silly when we were trying to figure out the math and originally thought that there were only nine cubic feet in one cubic yard and left because we thought the landscaping company was a rip off. Oh did I feel ridiculous in the car on the way home when I realized how wrong we had been. In case you are wondering, there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard, not nine. Math is not my strong suit alright, but at least we got it all straightened out in the end. I felt extra silly though when we had to return to the place five minutes after we just drove off.