Sunday, May 25, 2008


We haven't posted much recently as we haven't been getting much done on the house. The yard is the only thing that's been making any progress. Little by little we're getting pieces of it converted into garden. This is very slow going, especially at the back, as the top couple of inches of soil is full of ... things*. Which means we can't just plow under the whole yard and start from scratch.

Some of the things we get from filtering the top couple of inches (through a garden sieve, by hand, this is why it's taking a while):
  • Bits of plastic
  • Rocks (of varying sizes)
  • Pieces of fiberglass insulation
  • Pieces of glass
  • Nails
  • Children's toys
  • A bungie cord
  • A patch of tarmac
  • Wire
  • A twelve foot long piece of two-inch pvc pipe, not connected to anything.
  • bits of wood (painted)
  • Japanese beetle grubs:

The "raised" vegetable bed is actually level with the original surface, but four inches above the level we excavated down to in order to clean the soil. The sides of the bed are constructed from material from the demolition.

Initial frame, with a layer of not-quite-compost from the pile (mostly half decayed leaves) to at least have some organic material in the mix.

Filled with filtered soil from the hole, using rocks we pulled out as spacers:

Putting the peas in. You can see the neck of the Olla we got from these folk - it's basically an unglazed pot that you fill with water. The water seeps out through the pot, watering the plants from underneath - which promotes better roots and avoids leaf rot from watering the plants from the top.

The peas, two weeks later:

At which point they got eaten by rabbits. So we added some, unsightly but effective, rabbit netting to foil the cute critters:

Then we dug up the next patch, didn't have time or energy to make another raised bed, so planted potatoes in the dug patch:

The peppers refused to sprout, but we had successful seedlings of cauliflower and brocolli, so those went out a couple of weeks later:

The beds by the kitchen window aren't doing so well so far. The best growing item at this point is a parsnip top we rescued from the compost pile (where it was happily growing). Here they are back in March:

And today, still droopy and brown:

Except the mint, of course, which is still trying to take over the garden:

By midsummer, we might actually have compost. The huge pile of leaves, etc. from last autumn is finally heating up (in part due to being tossed every other week - that's hard work with around 200 cubit feet of wet leaves), and cooking down into (notifcably smaller) compost:

The cherry tree behind the house bloomed spectacularly, at which point we discovered it was a grafted tree (which explains some of its mutant form), so we have a white side and a pink weeping side.

The rose bush beside the house is once more trying to eat the house: