It began innocently enough with laying out an outline of what might be nice and a promise I’d think about it for a while. Two weeks later, phase 1 is complete.
My goal was to create an excellent soil base to replace what is now pretty much cement hard clay. The previous owners used a chemical lawn service for at least a decade, that left the soil depleted and hard as a rock. Over the past four years, I’ve been amending it with compost, manure and aeration. A record drought this summer proved that none of those measures were enough to reinvigorate the lawn and the soil was still like granite.
I had several choices: use chemicals to kill (just no), or a bobcat to scrape, the grass and bring in a large amount of good soil and replant the grass, or add sod, or xeriscape. I was definitely leaning towards creating an area of low-water native plantings. But the cost of scraping a lawn and bringing in yards and yards of compost/soil was cost-prohibitive.
Then a bit of research led me to the Sheeting Method. Better soil would be achieved by killing the grass and weeds with a sealed layer of cardboard and mulch. Leaving an excellent base for native plants and bushes to replace the grass.
The next step was a hunt for cardboard.
Thanks to neighborhood apps, I was able to relieve multiple neighbors of their cardboard just before recycling day, so it was already flattened. They didn’t have to drive it to the recycling center, and I got several carloads of boxes.
I came home after being out of town for a week to an abundance of ripe and ripening tomatoes. I only planted four plants, but I think it will get us through the winter.
This large tomato is a Mortgage Lifter. My local greenhouse carries a very few tomatoes and they are always unusual heirloom varieties. Last year it was San Marzano – and they were amazing. I think I’ll try to start some from seeds next year.
This year it was Mortgage Lifter and Amish Paste tomatoes.
This is the first ripe Mortgage Lifter – about the size of a softball – heavy – just under a pound. Definitely the biggest of this year’s varieties. Continue reading
My red poppies always bloom faithfully at the end of May, usually in time for Memorial Day, but I think this year, because it came so early in the month, they hadn’t bloomed yet.
But, like beautiful little memorials, they have arrived. I don’ t have anything planted close enough to them to give perspective, but they are huge.
The orange ones are always first.
… that stands out:
Just finished tuning up the front yard. Amazed how the constant rain has changed things. My xeriscaped rock garden is looking more like the forest floor. My roses are struggling and I may have to look into treatments for their waterlogged and spotted leaves.
I’ve cleaned out peonies and poppies early to give the other plants some room to dry out.
I’m “enjoying” watching the bindweed and spurge in a battle to the death. I’m sure I, and my garden, will be the loser.
My yard snakes have quadrupled in size and I’m wondering if I should be concerned that I have enough food for four snakes to grow so quickly. There are
two little ones one little one* wandering around, too.
*I just found one dead by the front door. I’m thinking he drown in the downpour last night.
So that’s the front yard. I’ll tackle the jungle in the backyard tomorrow. The veggie garden is looking good, but the lack of sun may hinder production.
Last night’s harvest. I processed the batch in the blue colander today. I’ll do the rest tomorrow and start the jelly. I should have plenty. I think I’ll give away the rest of the harvest.
No recipe exchange this week. Been very busy. Today I bought a door. I love our local salvage yard, got a great deal. I may be sacrificing a bit of energy efficiency with the window, but the living room needed the light. It is an upgrade from the plain wood door to insulated steel, so there is that. I need to touch it up a bit and then paint it before it’s installed.
The animals are settling in. Jake is back to his favorite spot:
Zander is always up for a belly rub:
And looking for a game of laser light:
He and Bixby play it together and I need to get video, but it’s tough to capture the action. Speaking of the Beast:
He happily has his own couch (for now). We’ll see what happens when I find the new sectional. But for now, he’s comfy. LOL
The yard is coming along. I had a surprise gladiola hiding in the chard that made a smashing debut yesterday:
The window box outside my office that has been host to butterflies, bees and a hummingbird:
That’s it for tonight. I hope you have a great holiday weekend. – TaMara