Showing posts with label mulch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mulch. Show all posts

Friday, May 18, 2012

More conundrums

I'm going to rename this blog Just a Girl With an Inability to Correctly Estimate How Much Soil/Compost/Chips She Needs. Ever since I ordered way too much soil for the raised beds I've erred on the side of less when ordering soil and amendments. I figured the pathway would call for 1/4 yard of cedar chips. Keep in mind, I didn't measure anything, that just sounded like a nice number.

I went to the wood waste place and discovered that the smallest amount they'll sell you is 1/2 yard. I asked the guy to go light when filling the truck (he did), so of course it fell short of how much I needed when I got home.

A little low

I had to go back the next day and get another 1/2 yard which got the pathway to the level I wanted.


Next up: adding drainage to the berm in the form of gravel or chicken grit, based on Loree's instructions (thank you Loree!), getting more plants in, and figuring out a way to mulch the agaves with gravel or stone while mulching everything else with fine bark mulch. Any bright ideas out there? I think I need some sort of border to divide the two mulches but I don't think bender board is going to cut it in this case.

I think I might have to build a rock wall/perimeter where the red line is. So much for avoiding the purchase of stone right now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The view as of today

We still need to work at making this look less like a giant square of cedar chips but for right now we needed to suppress the hoards of weeds that were sure to colonize the area.

Next up: evergreen plants, rain garden, new tree, deck. Go!

Edited to add: here's a reminder of the before:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm apparently worse at math than I thought.

Filling the smaller, lower section of the vegetable bed took about two cubic yards of soil.

I assumed it would take about four yards to fill the larger, taller part.  I also wanted to build a hillock in a section of the yard, so I estimated about five yards of soil.

Oh man, that's a LOT of soil.  Like, a crazy amount of soil.

It's way way way too much soil.

I got the second part of the bed filled and had barely made a dent in the pile.  So I started digging out the grass from the area where I wanted the hillock.  My neighbors were concurrently using a sod cutter to do the exact same thing in their yard.  I felt like a sucker, doing it by hand, until they encountered problems five minutes in and spent half the day trying to get the machine to work.

I had it all cleared before they finally gave up on the machine.

Then I started piling soil where the yard sloped dramatically back toward the fence.  I decided to embrace this dip and just designate the dipping area as a mulch zone.  Trying to mow the lawn in this area caused the lawnmower to accelerate dramatically down the hill toward the fence.  It looked bad and it was frankly dangerous.  I'm accident prone and I was probably close to losing a toe.

I grabbed some extra ferns and bleeding hearts I had lying around and put them in, along with the flowering currant and ocean spray I bought for this spot.

I picked up a hosta and a Little Honey oakleaf hydrangea for this dry, shady area.  I think I'm going to move the hydrangea over to the right a bit and plant some foxglove, wild ginger, and maybe an akebia (a vining plant that smells like chocolate!) to twine up the fence. 

I need to get some color over here, yes?  And then I want to put in a bench so people can canoodle in this corner of the yard.  And then I think I'm going to replace the no-privacy fence.  Because I have the fever.  The fever for spending more time and money on my yard.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's off to the mulch store I go.

Sigh.  Can you tell where I ran out of mulch?  I was so close.

But how gorgeous are the Bloodgood maples looking?

Now I just need to get some sun-loving plants to join them in the parking strip.  Something other than perfectly edged lawn, just to thumb my nose at my neighbors.  They take lawn edging very seriously in this neighborhood and I just don't understand the appeal of that much grass.  It's only May and I'm so sick of mowing.  I watched my neighbor spend two hours edging his lawn.  But I spend my weekends moving rock from one side of the yard to the other and then back again, so what do I know?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Garden fever!

I officially have garden fever.

I've checked out pretty much every book on gardening in the library where I work.  At night I pile into my bed with my books and my sketches and plot.  This is exactly what I needed to jolt me out of my homeowner ennui.

Last weekend I planted four more peonies and put a columbine in the shade garden.

I planted an Ocean Spray in the back right corner.  Ocean Spray is a native plant which means it's low-maintenance.  No mulching, no pruning, no soil amendments, just plant them somewhere they can go nuts.  Ocean Spray can get to be 15 feet tall and wide, so it should screen out the neighbors behind me as well. 

God, is my yard a mess or what?  In addition to screening out the neighbors (a new fence should help, too), I want to put in raised vegetable beds.  I have a completely annoying brick heap in my yard, presumably left over from a bricked barbecue.

I started grabbing bricks and laying out where I want to put the bed.  But I kept wanting to change the shape and that got really tiring, moving bricks over and over, so I finally got smart and pulled out the hose.

Once I had a shape I liked I moved the bricks.  I ended up with a modified bone shape.  My sister said it looks more like a shark or a boot.

I was encouraged by my friend T to do sheet mulching.  Some people call it "lasagna mulching."  You lay down newspaper or cardboard to choke out the grass, then pile on mulch and organic material.  You kill off the grass but maintain all the bugs and bacteria and established naturey goodness in the soil.  And you keep piling and piling until you have nice soil to plant your veggies in.  I asked one of coworkers to save the newspapers the next time she cleared out the library periodicals room.  That very same day I had two huge boxes of newspapers!

I did this on a rainy day, which worked to my advantage (wet newspaper doesn't fly away).  You just spread out a thick layer of newspaper (between 5-20 pages said one website) and grab some bricks so they don't fly away . . .

Then I grabbed some of the soil from the various pots I had all over the patio and spread it on top.

The next time I mow the lawn I'll use the bag (I usually don't) and spread the collected clippings on top.  I'll start collecting compostable materials like kitchen scraps and throw those on too.  Then hopefully I'll figure out what material I want to use to raise the beds and I can start getting my veggies going before we get too long into spring.

I also planted ranunculus bulbs and sowed sweet alyssum beneath the rose bushes out front.  The maples in the front are leafing out and the color is gorgeous.

I'm planning on planting creeping thyme beneath them.  It should provide a nice ground cover that has the bonus of releasing a wonderful smell when it's stepped on.  So as my roommate gets in and out of her car she should be greeted with a lovely scent.

This is the carrot I had on the stick last summer when I was working so hard on my house.  "Get all this interior stuff done and you can play all next summer in the yard," I kept telling myself.  Hopefully my house will behave and I really can spend my summer toiling in the backyard.  Fingers crossed!