Category Archives: Garden

Posts detailing the garden and outside of the house.

Gardening, ahoy!

Dudes, I’m so sore after this past weekend. But we got so much done! Inspired by a recent Flickr set showcasing a potager (kitchen garden), Kevin drew up plans for the backyard that involved tilling most of it to be used as a garden area, having a fountain/”water feature” (what a cheesy phrase) as a central, visually appealing piece, and having gravel paths around the whole thing. Yay for getting rid of lawn to mow! So, since our friend Craig let us borrow his tiller, and since compost isn’t quite done cooking at the dump, this weekend we got to work laying everything out and doing prep work for our garden-to-come.

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Here you can see the dual vegetable garden areas on either side of the sidewalk leading down to the garage/alley. We have effectively more than doubled our plot from last year.

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Here's Kevin laying down the landscaping fabric between one of the veggie garden plots and the area where I'll have my herb garden (it will be epic). Landscaping fabric is awesome, and Menards just happened to have it on sale this weekend.

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One of the trails laid with landscaping fabric, and lined with Purington Pavers, historic bricks and the same kind that several streets in Iowa City are paved with.

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The first batch of gravel has been spread. It'll take one or two more loads to get the coverage we want, although I don't think we can finish the gravel paths until the fountain pond thing is completed.

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This is not a firepit! It's a planter that looks like a firepit, and which will be dismantled and replaced with (hopefully) one of those whiskey half-cask planters, if I can find one that isn't $40.

Next post: Revenge of the Seedlings!

Seedlings

We’ve started planning our vegetable/herb/flower garden for this year, and we’ve already made some progress on getting better at the whole process. Last year, we basically just dug up a pretty large plot in our yard and filled it with plants that we bought from Menards and Lowe’s. We had a particularly wet growing season, and ended up with a moderately bad case of blight in our tomato section. NPR says that blight was widespread last year, both because of the excessive rain and because so many people purchased their plants from the big box stores, which allowed a ton of diseased plants to be spread all across the country.

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We weren’t going to be so naive this year, so we ended up ordering heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Seed Company, a business specializing in heirloom seeds out of Missouri. We definitely wanted to go heirloom, since we’re not into Frankenfoods and we like doing things the old-fashioned way.

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We ended up ordering a metric ton of seeds (after teasing our friend JoAnn about the amount she wanted, we ordered at least 25% MORE than she did), and last weekend we embarked on the process of sprouting the little bastards. We had no idea what we were doing, but we went to Menards and bought a bunch of setups for growing seedlings, including peat pellets and little biodegradable pots, and we got to work winging it. It’s less than a full week later, and as you can see, we’ve already got growth!

Too bad Mother Nature is taunting our progress.
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Sad face.

Edible gardening

We currently have two different planting areas in the backyard: a large vegetable garden at the bottom of the yard on the long skinny side, and a smaller herb garden situated right alongside the current patio (spot that will someday soon be enveloped by the bricks we’ll be using to extend the patio quite a bit). I got a chance yesterday to snap some pictures of both areas.

Catnip
Catnip blooms!

Herb garden:

Oregano
Oregano
Rosemary
Rosemary
Chives
Chives
Sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas, with their viny fingers twisting around some fencing
Tomato
One of several tomato varieties

And veggies!

Squash
Squash
Dead watermelon
My poor dead watermelon
Jalapeno plant
Jalapenos, nrom nrom nrom

The watermelon seems to have been the only casualty in the garden so far, although I was afraid of losing my squash on a few occasions. The veggie garden doesn’t get as much sun as it probably should, so the plants are a little shorter than they might be otherwise, but they still seem to be thriving. I’ve noticed a few nibbles on the jalapeno leaves, and I suspect the bunnies in the neighborhood are trying to infiltrate the fence. My dear friend JoAnn gave me a haircut on the back patio last night, and I took all of the cut hair (there was A LOT, man) and tucked it in close to the outside of the fence to keep the rabbits away.