Archive for March, 2008


I put a new flower bed in today using the lasagna method of gardening.  I put layers of newspapers down inside the border and watered them down.  Then I put on a layer of compost, a layer of peat, a layer of Mel’s mix.  I planted white marguerites, which will look very nice under the carolina jessamine, a row of edible marigolds, a row of sweet williams, a row of snapdragons.

Then I added dill to my herb bed and propped up the strawberries.

The rose garden was cleared out.  All the old leaves I used as mulch and cover last fall were shredded to make a layer of compost.  Over that I poured Mel’s mix.  The peppermints and horsetails showed through that, and that’s fine.  So long as I don’t have to deal with grass and weeds popping up, I can handle the uber-invasive horsetails.  For some reason, the Tropicana rose loves the horsetails.  I hope the Snowfire likes the horsetails as much as the Tropicana does.  I finished the bed with a thick layer of mulch, and added some color with some cosmos.

The last thing I have to do tonight is plant the new raspberry bushes I have.

Next weekend, I plan to make a bed of the red robin rose bush so it looks nicer.

In two or three weeks, I hope to have found the low fence I want to put in to allow the Little Pack outside so I don’t have to worry about them wandering off into neighbor’s yards.  At least they don’t go into the street!   A fence would make me feel better about working in the yard outside with them.  On the street side of the fence, I want to grow some low hedges, maybe bush cherries alternating with forsythias?

Inside the fence, I want to put in some more raised beds using a blend of Square Foot Gardening and Lasagna Gardening techniques – mixed flowers, herbs, and vegetables.  In the center of that, I’ll put a “floor” and some lawn chairs and low tables under the evening shade of the redbud tree.

If I plan things right, eventually I won’t have to mow the front yard at all.  A weedeater or small pushmower will take care of any grass left.


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I hired a trash service to clean up the debris in my front yard:  the broken planters, the damaged arch, the old tire someone left in my yard, the beer bottles and cans drivers tossed out into my yard, the piles of leaves and tree branches I pruned after the ice storm, that sort of thing.  I also asked them to haul away the old trunk my daughter dragged home one day and two wooden pallets that delivered a car engine for my son and he never got to haul away those pallets himself before he was deployed to Iraq.

Well, they did all I hired them to do and more.  They took my rolls of weed barrier cloth and bird netting, my weed eater, my wheelbarrow, my lawn chairs, and my shovel.  They also went into my backyard and took my brand new trash can, my long reach tree pruner, and my wood chipper.  I called them to inquire about getting those things back, and they said they didn’t take them.  They were very sympathetic, but unyielding. They suggested that neighbors helped themselves to my lawn care equipment.  My neighbors wouldn’t do that – they all have much better equipment than I do.

I have no way of proving they did or didn’t take my things.  I wasn’t home when they showed up to do the work.  None of my neighbors saw them.

So, I am stuck having to replace everything I lost.

I don’t really need a wheelbarrow, I just liked the thought of having one.

But – I do need a weedeater, lawn chairs, weed barrier cloth and bird netting, a shovel, the woodchipper, and the long tree pruner.  I will be spending about $480 to replace all of that – just barely below felony theft.

The woodchipper is the most expensive tool to replace and the hardest to find.  Mine was a foot pumped woodchipper, manually operated that I bought 45 years ago, when I bought my push mower.  It didn’t use gas or electricity.  I doubt I’ll be able to find another one like it, so I’ll have to settle for an electric powered one and those run around $250.

The tree pruner is the next most expensive at almost $100.  Since it wasn’t my tree pruner, I have to replace it.  I’d borrowed it from a friend to prune some of the smaller trees in back.  It was set inside the shed door, but the shed doors were open to let my son’s dogs in there.

At least I still have my old push mower. I guess they didn’t see it.

The weedeater is actually a convenience.  I could do without one.  But, they are cheap enough at $40.

The shovel was also very old.  I needed a new handle, and the prices for handles were higher than the prices for a whole new shovel.  I guess maybe they did me a favor taking that because I kept putting off getting a new shovel as I didn’t want to pay that much for a new handle alone.

The weed barrier cloth and bird netting aren’t so bad but I still hate spend the $15 it will take to replace them.

I really resent them taking my trash can, too.  I had just bought it and hte city where I live is so particular about what kind of trash can we’re allowed to have.  No one sells the ones they insist on, so we have to buy them from the city at $50 each.  It has to be exactly 30 gallons.  The ones in the stores are 34 gallons.  They condemn the 34 gallon trash cans and fine you for having one – a $50 fine, so you might as well buy the trash can from them.  And now, I have to buy another one.  Annoying.

And the lawn chairs?  I’d wanted to replace them, too.  The ones I had were the cheapest plastic ones and I wanted to upgrade to nicer ones.

So maybe, them (or whoever) taking my things wasn’t all bad.   The things in the backyard, where they weren’t supposed to go since I hired them only for the front yard stuff, anger me the most.  That’s where the bulk of my expenses in replacing things is coming.

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