Friday, March 26, 2010

Half a meadow + everything that's not vegetables.

How about before this turns into a LOOK AT THESE VEGETABLES DOING THINGS blog for the next six months, I show you the first results from last fall's efforts to turn my front yard into a drought tolerant meadow?

OK, let's do that.

But remember, like most things in the gardening world - this is an ongoing process. I'm imagining it will take a few seasons of, "Hey, there's an empty patch, let's put something there." before it gets all filled in and truly meadow-like.

So, I just say that because I don't want any to hear any beef about the bald spots that were supposed to be all covered with bushy meadow grass by now what happened is it dead? Because I don't need that kind of pressure in my life, oh beloved neighbors who I try to imagine are just being constructive and interested.

Sheesh. Go mow your water-sucking lawn and leave me to my bulbs.

Anyway - I'm OK with how my future meadow is progressing so far, and since I know that we won't have to mow ever again, that makes it all the better.

So, obviously, given these photos, the $.99 landscaping I did has proven again to be well worth my time. All 30 seconds of it that I spent dumping out a few packets of wildflower seeds and kicking dirt over them with the toe of my flip-flop.

The sidewalk patch has never looked finer and now I'm starting to wonder if I should have just taken that approach on the entire front yard except that I know how barren it gets around, say, December, and I doubt our neighbors would enjoy the dirt hole of our sidewalk patch extended across our entire front yard.

No, that'd be ugly. And I'd be ashamed. But only if it were the whole front yard. The dog pee hole though? That can go ahead and look shitty for three months out of the year and I won't give much of a crap. I mean, what do I expect from a dollar's worth of seeds? A year round cutting garden of Eden?


I just expect it to look passable for most of the year while I don't water it or do anything other than point to it and go, "HA! 99 cents. That rules." as I go on about my life. Also, sometimes I get excited about the poppies and take photos like those you see above, BUT THAT'S IT.

I don't want more commitment than that with a sidewalk patch that's not "technically" mine in the first place, according to the City of San Jose.

Alright, now that we've paid heed to the front yard's shenanigans, I'll give you a quick run-down of what the backyard is doing to get my attention before all of my eyes are on the vegetables until October.

Much to my relief, the potatoes (top left) are actually sprouting in their old tires, so all that time they spent getting wrinkly and pathetic-looking on my counter wasn't a complete detriment to their ability to grow. Phew. I still have no fucking idea what I'm doing with the potatoes (help - when do I put more soil on them? Now?), but they at least appear to be alive. Yay.

Much to Bubba's relief, the apple tree (moving right through the photos) is making another effort at growing this year - its second year in our yard and its first overwintered spring - and that's good because if the apple tree croaked ohmigawdIdontknowwhatwewoulddo.

Some daffodils are blooming still - which was a surprise because I thought we were done after the white and yellow ones, but SURPRISE, there were some of my favorite variety just waiting to sprout up and get trampled by the dog. For the record, I favor the ones with the orange centers because, well, I like orange. So there's that.

The cherry tree, which I love with the rest of my heart that's not dedicated to loving tomatoes (there's some room left over), is blooming enthusiastically which pleases me greatly and causes my neighbors (who gave us the tree) to warn us about stealthy thieves who've been known to sneak into people's gardens and leave holes where, previously, there were healthy blossoming cherry trees. They're such jokers!

I have installed locks, though. Just to be safe. (Kidding)

On the patio, totally minding its own business since I raped it of all of its lemons a month ago, is the dwarf Meyer lemon just blooming its little heart out. Which is incredible given the horrible shearing I gave it a few years back, from which I thought it would never recover. Yikes. When I think about the pruning that poor tree took...*shudder* Anyway - it has about five hundred blossoms on it right now and PHEW. Plus, it smells rully nice.

Yarrow. It's fuzzy. And the two new plants I put in, like, five minutes ago, are already blooming. And you don't really care so let's just move on.

Strawberries! They're alive! Which is no small miracle since, a few years back, I nearly pulled them from the veg beds before their time to throw them away because I didn't know that strawberries are perennials. Oh. Thank you, mom, for letting me in on that little secret in time to save these very happy plants from certain death. Now they are happily growing in the landscaping, where they won't be chucked into the composter by a retarded gardener (moi), but will probably be napped upon by our dog who is a total plant napper.

And, according to the photo collage (which isn't as handy as I'd imagined since I've had to do all this elaborate referencing that's starting to really annoy me), we're back at the cherry tree now, which is in full bloom and YAY because maybe this year we'll pull more than a pound of cherries from it so I can make things like pie.

And you know how we like pie.

So that's it. I'm off the hook. I don't *have* to pay any more attention to anything other than the vegetables I'm about to plant this weekend until, like, October when the vegetables are dying out and I remember there are other things in my yard that want photo shoots and undivided attentions and thing.

So needy.

Tomorrow: Beans, cucumbers, lettuce, melons and tomatoes


  1. Regarding the potatoes: I can't see how tall the plants are, but yes, you should probably put more soil on now. The idea is that only a few inches of plant should ever be above soil. So they will probably need continuous additions of soil for awhile as they grow.

    I am jealous of your non-hilling potatoes. But we couldn't grow hundreds of pounds of potatoes in tires without turning our entire property into a junkyard, so I will reluctantly continue my hilling. And bitching.

  2. And here I am, all eager beaver waiting for Mother's Day weekend to plant some fucking petunias.

  3. Wow Finny! You're so lucky to have such a great growing season. That meadow is looking pretty good -- especially the space between the street and the sidewalk!

  4. Everything looks so beautiful. And Alive!

    I'll go ahead and answer your question here. I've started 5 kinds of tomatoes (Debarao, Super Sweet 100, Brandywine, Matina and Costoluto Genovese), Tomatillos (we'll give those another shot with 2 or 3 plants), Lemon Basil, Cilantro, Broccoli Raab, Chinese Kale and two types of spinach (Correnta and Bloomsdale). Basically, I just planted a bit of all the seeds that I'd bought over the last 5 years or so. I actually planted 6 pots of each, 3 seeds per pot. And just about everything came up. I was shocked. I'll be giving away lots of seedlings this spring.

  5. I hafta say, I started my gardens this year after reading your blog for...oh...about a year and drooling over your fresh veg money shots. I can't wait to see what stays alive and actually produces! Yay for vEg porn! ("E" capitalized so it's not confused with another word)

  6. YES!...I have been waiting to see your wild flowers bloom! I love the idea of the no-mow front lawn, however my wannabe farmer John hubby...with his new John Deer would be beside himself....

    Great stuff, I'll be watching it all unfold.

    ps....LEMONS you can die for!

  7. Have you tried moss as groundcover? its green, thick and pretty and takes about half the water as grass... just a thought. Check our a nursery for many color-borne varieties.

  8. Finny...great post! You garden is looking amazing! Yarrow is so beautiful...I live in Oklahoma, so mine fared well in the spring last year, but we had a rainy summer combined with a few really hot days and it shrivled and died. I hope yours does not suffer the same fate :)
    You sidewalk, 99 cent garden looks great too! I have an idea that might work for you for a litle year round, no maintenence color. Angelina stonecrop. It is a sedum and some nursuries just have it in the sedum section and call it Angelina. It looks like mini ferns, is self spreading and has little yellow flowers once a year. It stays pretty low to the ground too. Even after several weeks of below freezing temps and being covered with several feet of snow, mine was a beautiful burgundy all winter and is starting to turn back to its deep silvery green. It might be a nice compliment to the front of your meadow when the wildflowers are finished.

    Good luck! Its fun to watch your progress :)


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