In June 2008 I was settled down enough to start planting in the ground. Where there once was lawn I spent months hand digging and pulling out the grass, roots and all. I put up 4" (10 cm) walls and added a couple hundred cubic feet (5 cubic meters) of steer manure and a dozen cubic feet (.3 cubic meters) of perlite. It was a lot of labor preparing the bed but all the prep work has caused it to remain remarkably weed free. When the day came to plant, a tremendous lightning storm was in the distance. No rain though, so I stuck it out and got everything in the ground. This was the start of the Summer 2008 California Wildfires leaving intensely smoky skies for almost three months.