Saturday, March 24, 2007

Big green mess

It's been not very rainy at all today--quite beautiful, in fact, which was not what I was led to believe would happen. has been pretty darn unreliable the last couple of weeks, in fact (though it got the general "warmer" trend right). So after Eric and I took a nice walk, noticing some purple crocuses (?) in our front grass, and met a young man who asked us where to go to meet girls, I did some work on the yard.

I bought a rake and a hand cultivator on Friday, along with dirt and some pots, and I used my new rake to start getting rid of some of the leaves in the flower beds. I love my new rake. I hadn't realized how very thick the leaves were. I ended up leaving the leaves (and dead twigs, and weeds, and Roundup-ed grass) on the driveway and the grass, to clean up tomorrow, since we'll be working on the trash pile anyway and I knew I didn't have that much time. I discovered tons of bulbs in the back of a flower bed in the front. I discovered that the previous owners loved that black landscaping cloth. I discovered that the previous owners' son had been obsessed with purple chalk, because I found bits of it everywhere. Some blue and some green, too, but mostly purple.

I planted some bulbs (some that I bought from Michelle for a school fundraiser and some that were in obviously weird places in other beds) on the house side of the driveway, and cleared all the junk from the other (noticing in horror a multitude of little seedlings that are almost certainly growing from the seeds of some weed I let run wild last summer). It's quite a nice little bed over there, actually, and I feel like I want to do something with it other than what I saw of it last summer--it felt crowded and monotonous--but I don't know what. I read part of The Secret Garden Friday at work (online), and it made me want to plant flowers. I've never been interested in flowers before, so this is new.

Eric and I walked around the yard a bit before he went in to do his taxes, and agreed that the tree on the house side of the driveway needs to come out--it's pretty, but it was planted way too close to the house and it obviously shouldn't be there. Also a bushy vining flower will be coming out. The previous owner had pointed it out in exultation when we toured the place, but I think it's ugly, and Eric concurred.

Also we decided where to put our new peach tree. When I went to Lowe's for my rakes and dirt I looked longingly at the fruit trees and noticed that they had winesaps, an extremely tart apple that both Eric and his mother adore. I mentioned this to Eric and he mentioned it to his mom, and after we assured her that there were other apple trees near enough to pollinate it, she requested that we purchase one for her. I'd suggested it to Eric for us, but he pointed out that we're going to be gone in two years, while his mom will quite possibly live in her current house until she dies. While we were there I expressed my longing for a fruit tree, and after I reluctantly passed up a nectarine tree because I'm the only one who really likes them, Eric pointed out that the peach trees were already flowering which meant they might produce fruit this year or next, and we bought a Red Haven peach. We already have a pear tree in the middle of the backyard, and I suggested that we place the peach tree near it and make an island of sorts, maybe plant some bulbs or small ground cover in between. Eric liked that idea. "You could extend the garden behind the island," he suggested. "Then I wouldn't have to mow back there at all."

I intended to plant peas and carrots, but I also intended to get the compost out of the compost pile and work it into the dirt first, and I discovered, after this yardwork, that the usable compost is mostly compressed in a tight dry brick. So I'm going to water it and use it when I can. The compost pile is in a real compost box, and there's a door at the bottom for getting the oldest compost out first, which would be awesome except I can't get the door open. I'm trying to decide whether I should break it or not.

I also repotted the newly-sprouted green peppers and tomatoes. These are exciting because I hadn't necessarily expected them to grow, so I'm trying to give them all the care I can. The seeds from the cherry tomato especially are growing up gangbusters. And the basil and marigolds have sprouted, and the oregano is a forest of tiny little seedlings. I've already rotated the container because they were all leaning towards the side.

And that first eggplant seedling? I think it's a weed. It doesn't have cotyledons; instead it's just a long slender blade. There are enough other eggplant seedlings coming up that I'm not concerned, but it's funny that I was so soliticious of its wellbeing before. I'm going to wait a bit to be sure, but I think it's coming out. It's amazing that all this stuff is coming up all at once. Is that how it always is, or is that just a factor of when I planted? I still have strawberry seeds to start (and zucchini in April), but mostly my seeds are started and on their way towards becoming real plants.

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