I have to say, I love our houseguest! If I had known exactly how willing he was to just get in there and rip out vines, weeds and small trees, I would have taken before pictures, so you could see in the after pictures, exactly how much has been done. It looks really fabulous in the backyard now! Dead trees are gone, large swathes of the Virginia Creeper have been torn off of the fence, great sections of dead leaf and obnoxious weed have been pulled from the beds...
Thanks to all his hard work, the compost pile is actually HOT! I though it was a holy grail, unattainable and distant, but no, it turns out you just have to pile up an unholy amount of yard refuse, get it wet, and then let it do it's thing. (I think, because I started it in the early spring, late winter with mostly dead leaves, it didn't have enough green stuff to get properly cooking.)
Since he's been working so hard, getting so sweaty and bug bitten, I've been inspired, too. Today I went and looked at all he had done, nodded my head approvingly, and then got to work.
I broke up a few empty sections of the beds along the side of the house, where I had previously had the broccoli. Then, I scraped back the mulch from the beds, added fresh compost, put the mulch back, and then put a top layer of fresh mulch on top of all that. I added about, oh, four to six inches of organic material to the beds.
There's a half circle bed that was home to some random ornamental things and weeds, which our lovely houseguest ripped right out. So, I half-ass broke that up (stinking hard soil, man!) and added both a layer of compost, and a layer of mulch. I think I'll let that sit a bit, and in a couple weeks, I'll try to work that mess in. That's going to be a winter veggie bed in a couple of weeks. :)
I direct seeded one hill of cucumber (Straight 8), two hills of zucchini (Black Zucchini), one hill of spaghetti squash (not labeled with variety), and two hills of cantaloup (Minn. Midget). I also started, in peat pots, three Cherokee Purple tomatoes (the last seeds! oh noes!), four Arkansas Traveller tomatoes, and three Yellow Monster peppers.
I am so excited for the seeds we ordered to come in, I can't hardly wait! eee! The garden boxes have all been moved from the side yard into the driveway, along the side. Since we only have one car now, it makes sense to use the side of the driveway that is unoccupied for gardening, since it's in full sun all day long! Oh, yeah, and in one of the boxes, two pepper plants are coming back! New leaves, and signs of new growth. Very promising.
A couple of days ago, I was struck by curiosity, and so I went digging in those garden boxes. I'd planted onions, way back at the start of the year, and they hadn't done much growth, and then had (I thought) all died. Ditto with some potatoes. So, I dug around in there, and guess what I found?
The potatoes had done their thing and created more potatoes:
(that image is ready to be made into an icon, and if you want to, go for it! it's a 350X350 pixel image right now, just shrink it down!)
The onions, while yeah, they didn't make the giant onions I was kinda hoping for, did create these:
I cooked with four of them today, in a dish of alien guts. (okra, yellow squash and mushroom, sauted and then allowed to steam themselves in their own juices. mmm, slimey.)
Now, I'm tired out, and ready for a nap! Aaaahhh... gardening... :)