Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jennifer Homeowner has flashbacks

Ah, paint. Eric and I painted the living room and entryway today. We meant to do it completely, but that was before we realized that (a) we didn't have enough tape and (b) we didn't have enough paint. They're both mostly windows and archways so I had thought the one gallon would be enough, but no. And since we're painting over a dull dark green, we need at least one more coat. The rooms look much lighter, though, and I had no mishaps such as the ones I had the last time I painted.

We also taped off another room upstairs (aside from the living room, we've got two bedrooms and the bath to paint--we painted the basement a few days ago, because the previous owners had inexplicably painted most of it black, and with the white down there it's marvelously brighter) and discovered that the previous homeowners may have been fix-it types, they weren't very good fix-it types. There was a small desk built into a narrow corner in the room destined to be my sewing room, and the supports for it were actually glued to the walls. Eric got some satisfaction out of smashing them with a hammer until they broke off and then spackling up the holes (plaster would probably have been better, but we didn't have any and we did have the spackle handy).

Also, last night while Eric was playing World of Warcraft I did my part of our bargain that gets Eric to mow the lawn, and started taking care of the garden. Behind the garage is a square of earth, about as big as the garage, with a raised bed in the middle and a pear and an Asian pear around. My eventual plan is to clear this area of grass entirely and have herbs, vegetables, and fruit bushes, but this year I'm starting small. So I planted a raspberry bush near the Asian pear, and two pepper and two tomato plants, and some peas, and mint and basil and dill around the chives plant that Edith gave me and that Eric mowed down because I hadn't put enough dirt around it to make it clear it wasn't a particularly big clump of grass. I also cleared most of the raised bed. The previous owners had placed black plastic over one half of this, and in the other they'd planted strawberries...and then, over the plastic, they apparently planted lettuce, because there were four clumps of it, growing out of shallow roots in the little bit of dirt on top of the plastic. And in the non-plastic area, the strawberry plants were dwarfed by spiky yellow-flowered weeds. I got Michelle to whack some of them for me by pointing out that when they were cleared, she could see the strawberries hidden in the greenery, and she could eat any she found. In the meantime, I spread the 240 lb of topsoil and 40 lb of garden soil I'd bought (at about 2.5 cents a pound, for the topsoil at least) and planted. I'm not sure what to do to kill off the rest of the grass for next year--I've only covered about a quarter of what I eventually want to have as planting ground. I figure I'll have a gravel U-shaped path around the raised bed, but for the rest, do I cover it with dirt this year and wait for the grass beneath it to die, or do it early spring next year, or cover it with plastic now, or what?

Anyway, I have plants planted, as well as cantaloupe seeds started inside the house. We've got the first coat of paint on the front room and entry. The U-Haul is reserved for next Saturday. We bought an ice cream maker. We're well on our way to moving in.


Jennifer said...

I would cover it now--that gives it all summer to die, and by the time you're ready to plant more next year, you shouldn't have a problem with the grass. In my opinion, of course. :)

It sounds neat--do you have any pictures yet?

Jenny said...

Sounds good. :) No pictures yet--I'm going to wait until the paint is done and some of the dust from moving has settled.

Jennifer said...

Fair enough! :)

JLB said...

I am so excited about your garden space that I'm bouncing in my chair!

Here's what you can do about the grass: come autumn, cover it with newspaper and/or cardboard (weight that down with stones or something solid). It's not labor-intensive, it'll use up your packing boxes, and if you can tolerate the look for a little while, you'll be happy to know that the paper will smother and kill the grass, and decompose too, both of which feed the soil and don't disturb the "ecosystem" in the soil layers. Come springtime, you'll have an easy time turning the soil just a little on top without have to go through the back-breaking process of digging up the grass.

However, if you're feeling masochistic, or don't like the idea of covering the grass with unsightly paper, the other good option is to carefully dig up the grass, and just turn it upside down. The dying grass greens and roots feed the soil for next year, and you don't have to move it all over the place or remove any precious soil.

Have fun!!