Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Quest for a Backyard


When we moved in, our backyard was a jungle of sorts. The grass grew knee high (or chest high, for my two year old) and it didn’t seem like the best environment for our little guy to go exploring. Just before we planted our vegetable garden we decided to start watering the backyard to see if we could get anything to grow back there. Lo and behold, below the tall, dead, African safari-type grass grew little grasslings, springing up to the sun.

So when we planted our garden, we weed-whacked the whole backyard, and this is what it looks like now. We hope with more sun and water we’ll have a lawn to play on before Christmas.

things are growing


There’s something really special about watching plants grow. You sow these little seeds in the ground, and with enough sunshine, good soil, and water, little plants start coming out of the ground. It’s hard to imagine that I will be harvesting food from these little plants in a matter of months.



I sometimes find myself feeling emotions for my plants that I usually only feel toward my children. Interesting, eh?

Monday, September 7, 2009

my free flower garden


This is the front of our house. The management company advertises these house as having “landscaped front and side yards.” Well, let me just tell you what this looked like when we moved in. There was no lawn, it was just dried, old, patchy, weedy front yard. They mow the… weeds, but not very often (once every 2 weeks, if we’re lucky). Close to the house, there was nothing but dead grass and dirt – the pest control company sprays about a foot of the ground around the perimeter of the house to keep out the bugs… yes… a whole foot. In the front by our little carport lived a hideous, spider-infested bush.

This past weekend we did some major improvements (we’ve been watering the front “lawn” for a while now, and it’s starting to look much better, despite still being mostly crab grass, and the patchy appearance). We had a friend pull out the ugly bush in the front, we transplanted some irises from the back yard, and covered the front flower garden with wood chips from huge piles of woodchips that were heaped just beyond our backyard. The irises were all clumped up in one big bush, having never been separated for probably several years. They had a fungus, but I just chopped off the affected leaves, and they are doing pretty well. The friend who pulled out the big ugly bush also gave use a few peace lilies and torch lilies from their yard. The peace lilies were decapitated when they were pulling a huge aloe vera plant out of their yard, and the torch lilies had died a while back. I think they also had a fungus (from not being separated), but I’m hoping now that they are separated and have proper drainage, they will start growing again.

Total cost for our front flower garden?! Nothing!! All found, donated, or relocated material. And it looks SO much better. And by the way, our management company had nothing to do with it. So much for their landscaped front and side yards. And I’m taking my plants with me when I leave.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Starting a Garden

We planted our very first vegetable garden as a married couple this fall. I know it sounds weird to say that we planted a garden in the fall, but in our part of the world, the growing season is just about year round.

100_3192 And here it is. The garden is inside boxes because we have a problem with some kind of root-eating rodent. The jury is still out as to what exactly the rodent is. Some say gopher, some say prairie dog of sorts. None of that is as important as the fact that it eats the roots of plants and digs up gardens (and lawns) and is the biggest nuisance around. To thwart the little animals, we planted our garden in old bookshelves we bought from our local waste management facility’s “store” – they sell just about anything that anyone could even dream of reusing. Kind of like a second hand store, but a little more trashy.

We got three bookshelves for $7, and then paid $20 for five HUGE bags of the dump’s delicious compost. Did I really just say delicious? You bet I did. Yummy yummy compost. I was seriously about to eat a handful while we were filling up our bags at the dump.

We planted beans, peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli, spinach, cilantro, romaine lettuce, carrots, green onions, and yellow onions. We also started bell peppers (four different colors!) and two types of tomatoes. We should be having a bountiful harvest by Christmas!