Tuesday, March 09, 2010

So much gardeningblahblahblah

Holding true to my gardeningblahblahblah promise, I'm here to tell you that the fava beans have met their end.


I mean, THAT IS GOOD because it means that the 2010 garden is almost, sort of, soon to be planted and growing and making me tomatoes just as soon as I can turn, test, amend and plant the soil.

Though that process is a little less FUCK YEAH than the eating of tomatoes because it involves math skills and patience, which are two things you well know I don't possess in any meaningful quantity.

I summon all my inner resources to complete this task every year and then I take a break from math and patience for the remainder of the year. Which you should know in case you're expecting me to listen gracefully while you explain your hernia procedure or request my help in calculating more than the tip on a dinner bill where there's more than two digits at any point beyond April 2010.

Though, you probably won't get much help from me now, but you knew that. I have to conserve my mental capacities! The garden requires it!

You understand.

Along with the fava massacre, there were two other momentous garden occasions this weekend which I will share with you now.

Momentous Garden Occasion #2: Potato planting

Yes, friends, we have decided to continue the WT theme from our hick front yard to the garden in back by adopting the Tire Method for potato growing.

Meaning, rather than planting potatoes in rows and then hilling them with soil when they require it like normal people, we instead fill a tire with soil, plant potatoes in there, and then when the potatoes sprout vines and grow up through that soil, we put another tire on top and fill that with soil through which the vines can grow. And on and on until we have a tower of potatoes and dirt looming at the back of the yard, further confirming how WT we are.

As though there's been a lot of doubt on the subject.

To accentuate the WTness of it all, I've dragged over a sprinkler line from the nearest bed and plugged it down in the center of the tire to provide automatic irrigation to the potatoes so that my lazy ass doesn't have to go dragging the hose all out there to do it by hand.

Because, water by hand? Oh, that's not going to happen.

So you know, I planted 2 red creamers, 2 gold creamers and 3 or 4 banana fingerling potatoes in that tire you see there, so we'll see how this goes since I don't know anything about growing potatoes. Experiment alert!

Momentous Gardening Occasion #3: Rain barrels

See, long ago, my Montana friend (as I call her to Bubba as though she and I have been BFF for a decade) Nici at digthischick, installed rain barrels at her place and I thought it was the coolest thing. I also thought, "I must have this now", and then proceeded to totally forget about it sort of while we were busy having our porch redone, relandscaping the backyard, putting in a patio and growing 200+ lbs of tomatoes.

But the thought has been back there. Loitering about, making trouble. Until a few weeks ago, when I bit the bullet and ordered my barrel and the diverter thing that, in no way, actually "goes with it" even though it appears to on the website.

Whatever. We made it work.

And then, just as Funny Contractor was finishing up our porch and putting the finishing touches on its facade, the barrel showed up with a label taped to the side and proceeded to highlight the generous proportions of the new concrete pad area ever so elegantly.

As you know, we're a class household, so this went very well with the new posts and paint and un-WTness of it all.

Thankfully, last Sunday morning I decided to take my morning brew on a walk over to the gutter's downspout in the pre-determined Future Rain Barrel site to "inspect" its integrity and figure out where the F I was going to put in this diverter creature.

And, as so often happens when I "inspect" things with the final thought of including them in a project, the project launches into action and, before I know it, I've lost my mug of tea in the shuffle and instead have a pocket full of sockets (band name, anyone?) and the stepladder - which I'm balancing precariously on half a concrete step and some really soft downspout moistened mud.


And then, thankfully again, Bubba comes out to find out how come the house is so quiet and what the hell is that woman doing NOW, to find me teetering on the stepladder removing screws from the downspout bracing, with the parts for the diverter all splayed out on the back patio.

Being the smart, and incredibly wise and self-preserving, man that  he is - he offers up his help and then gracefully guides me through the diverter installation - all the while letting me feel like I'm doing it all by my tin snip wielding self. Which I can assure you, I am not.

I need this man. He keeps me from wrecking the house.

And, before long, one of our fabulous neighbors - who likely smelled snipped tin on the wind - showed up in our backyard with a new book for me (love her) and a demand to know how we could be putting in rain barrels without calling her first. She is an expert on the subject after all, since she's installed two on her house already, with a third waiting in the wings.

So, with the combined knowledge of a rain barrel-installing expert, one very handy man and caffeinated but mostly useless blonde (moi) - the rain barrel managed to get installed. And, because my fabulous neighbors continue on their quest to sainthood - I also received a second rain barrel for the water collecting efforts.

Because they had "an extra they weren't going to use". Again, so awesome these two.

I do hope they know we don't even have a will into which we could write them. *Eek*

Oh, and while this isn't quite so Momentous but rather just helpful - for any of you out there considering the repurposing of otherwise useless yard materials into an auto-filling birdbath, let me suggest an alternative sealing method to silicone gel: inner-tube scraps.

See, I'd had the birdbath all auto-filling since that weekend when I installed it, and I noticed that some water was leaking through the silicone seal into the surrounding landscaping.

Well, to be truthful, I just thought the dog was drinking the water for a while and chose to ignore the whole thing, but then I realized that was impossible because she hadn't been out there long enough to do that kind of drinking.

She's no boozer, this dog.

Anyway, when I came to terms with the fact that the seal was leaking and that, in order to fix it, I'd have to dismantle the whole thing, dry it out and take another go at it with the liquid sealant, I decided I needed a different approach.

So, in my truest form, I went out to the garage on the hunt for something like a rubber gasket. Except, we didn't have any rubber gaskets of proper size. And YOU KNOW I'm not pedaling off to the hardware store if I don't have to. So, instead I wandered the garage looking for something that fit the description of: thin rubber material, easily cut to size, preferably not the most important piece of whatever it lived in at that moment.

And, of course, my eyes fell on the ever useful busted bike inner-tubes just hanging around in the garage.


So - if you want to make this birdbath all watertight and what not - and you happen to have some busted inner-tubes laying about doing nothing - take your cutting device of choice, slice out 2, 2-3" chunks, open them up by slicing down one side of them vertically, then cut an X in each of them smaller than the diameter of your sprinkler nozzle spout (without the nozzle attached), slide one down over the nozzle spout and then push that through the hole you made in your birdbath bowl. Then slide the other over your nozzle (so that you have a layer of rubber below the spout and bowl and above the bowl and below the spout) and screw on the nozzle attachment.

Basically, you treat these two flat pieces of rubber inner-tube like ghetto gaskets that, when cinched down with the sprinkler nozzle, create a waterproof seal.

Not that the dog's going to stop drinking out of the fountain, but you get what I mean.

Enjoy all of that.


  1. So with you and your ghetto WTness...can we get buttons that say "Finny's Ghetto Whores"?? Because I'd like one. ;)

  2. You may be the only suburb-dwelling junk farmer in existence, Finn.


  3. Very clever and innovative! How very nice of your husband and generous neighbor (plus a bonus book!), gardening life at your house is moving along quite nicely.

  4. This entire post is freakishly clever. I am particularly fond of the rainwater barrels. Did you know in Colorado, the state owns the rain, so it is illegal to capture? Insane. In AZ we've had so much rain in the last month, I could have certainly used one.
    Will you have to worry about mosquitoes?

  5. i love your process. and your humor.

    so to combine comments with the last post, may i recommend the juiceman jr? it takes up less space and works nicely--mine is old, like maybe a decade, and truth be told, a pain to clean (but perhaps they all are?) but makes some darn good juice. oh, the things you could do with your beets! I'm thinking ginger, apple, carrot beet juice, to start. Not too pervy, right?

  6. Once again I am in awe of your hard-workingness, weirdness, and coolness.

    And once again I wonder how we could be friends. Oh my god, I know (and love) someone with a rain barrel. Two! Which amuses me, because my family is far more WT than yours, but in an entirely different direction. Your family is all WT in a "let's go plant corn in the back 40" kind of way. Mine is WT in a "let's have ham cooked on the engine block of our Chevy" kind of way.

  7. ok, I'm not gonna lie, but I'm oddly excited about this post. Potatoes and rain barrels1?!?! Almost too much for me to handle. I've been wanting to grow potatoes forever and think the tire idea is ingenious! Can't wait to see how they turn out!

  8. Is it silly of me that I might swoon from the sight of those rain-barrels?

    I've thought about trying the tire thing for potatoes, but it gets really hot here in the summer and I think it might just be too much for the poor little plants.

    Also, I thought you might like to know that while Jenny and Aurora and I are NOT shaving our heads this year for St. Baldrick's, our 12 year old friend Raven is. It's happening on Friday and I should have pics up by Saturday.

  9. I know nothing about juicers, but I wanted to tell you that my grandpa ran the farm that fed all of the county-run institutions in our neck of the woods (nursing home, hospitals, jail, etc.) and he employed the tire potato garden. If it worked well enough to feed everyone living in a county-run facility, it should work for you, WT or not. :) Good luck!

  10. Nice blog,glad you somehow installed the rain barrels.Water conservation is very important these days as water is becoming scarce these days.wine rack


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.