Wednesday, May 02, 2012

GW vol 3

First let me lead off with a follow up to my last post. We were able to talk to the codes enforcer guy today and we are all set and good to go. We just need to move the boxes roughly another foot back away from the sidewalk. Our city apparently has an ordinance that anything such as a fence or planters need to be at least three feet from the sidewalk, our box was only 2 feet away. I made sure to ask lots of questions to make sure there aren't any more surprise notices on our door and we should be all set without any further interruptions. I was so stressed thinking it was going to be a complete halt and a "no front yard garden" fiasco. But a big fat "phew" and we can move along.

This past weekend, while it was really cold and extremely windy (I can't even begin to tell you how many times I got pieces of leaves and dirt in my eyes!) we were able to get back into our front yard garden renovation. We have had a few different design concepts but this one definitely won out the others. It's going to give a lot of structure and height to the yard. 

The basic plan is many different planter boxes of varying heights and sizes mixed with various containers of all bright fun colors. There will be lots of height by having trellises and other structures for climbing plants etc. I am really excited about it, especially because we have so many flowers that we get to mix in that we already own and are just going to move things around.

So first we went to my parents house. They have over five acres of land and then own a lot of land into the woods. Every year they take all their leaves and clippings and have a big compost mulch pile. So my dad got out his bucket loader and filled up K's truck. On the way home we scored these two bags of lawn clippings! I was embarrassed to be taking clippings off someone's front yard but they left them out there to be picked up by the city, so hey - free for the taking

So the next step was building our first box. We bought 10" wide by 12' long by 1 1/2" thick pine boards. These suckers are nice and thick and heavy. The sides are 12' long and we made this box 3' wide, stacked two together to give it more height.

We then created a "lasagna garden". It's a layered garden that creates great soil. The first layer you can either place cardboard or newspapers, next layer is your mulch/compost/leaves, then a "green" layer - this can be grass clippings or manure. You keep alternating your "brown" layers and "green" layers.

My parents have plenty of these leaves that are already decomposing and then we found a horse farm that we can get free manure from. So our soil in our beds will be able to made completely free without having to buy any sort of soils. Free makes me very happy.

We then wanted to give a little more to the bed. So we have added a small short bed off of it. There will be the same small bed off the back and then a short 6x4 box off the side.

While we were only able to get one complete before running out of wood, it already makes a difference in the yard. So tomorrow (hopefully the sun comes back out) we can move it back one foot and build the small boxes off of it.

The next box we are going to build is actually out of pallets. K can get them free from work. FREE! And this one will be one of my favorites. It will be 4'x4'x4' square. You apparently build them so there are open spaces in the height of the box and its for potatoes. K said it will produce tons of potatoes and you can actually reach your hands in the slots and pull them out! That is heaven for me (I LOVE potatoes) I am so excited for this whole project. It will be truly amazing to be able to just walk in my front yard and get our groceries. He has been reading up on all different fruits and veggies that we can grow, some I didn't know we'd be able to. I love fruit more than I love veggies, so the thought of having a plethora of fruits in my yard really excites me. This year wont be the best for producing but next year should be amazing because everything will already be set up and ready to go for us. There are plans for someday within the next couple years to build a small greenhouse too so we can start everything early. 

I almost forgot to talk about it, but the mayor drove by and stopped at our house. He only lives a few blocks from us and has stopped before. When we first did the crazy flower garden renovation two years ago he stopped and said how amazing it was. He asked if they could take pictures of our house to have it be on the City of Oneida website. (I don't think they ever did - I never checked). While we were working Sunday and stopped again and asked what we were doing to it now. We explained the plan and he was amazed. He told us how it is so great that we are doing this and he always loves to watch and see what we are going to do next. I joked with him and said "Yeah, the entire neighborhood thinks we are crazy" He just laughed and said "Keep up the good work, it's looking amazing" So that made me happy. Always a good thing to have someone in the community appreciate what we do. It's really funny because we will go to different shops or establishments around town and everyone knows our house. It's bizarre. We are known as "the couple that live in the house with the crazy gardens" Hey, that works for me, a lot worse things we could be known for, right? Like "the strange couple that painted their house black" (mwah-ha-ha that's foreshadowing of things to come)

If anyone else has garden projects, please leave a link. I would love to check them out.