We bought a house!

Our New Home!

The house is great but the yard is AMAZING! It sits on 2.3 gently sloping acres. There’s a good mix of bright sunny yard and cool shady wood and the element I’m most thrilled about and what may have sold me on the house is the 1800 sq. ft. fenced off garden. We’ve been in the house for over a month now and practically threw our stuff down and ran outside to play in our amazing new yard. And what people call “yard work” has replaced the hours I used to spend logging miles in a tiny air conditioned gym on a treadmill with ‘Keeping up with the Kardashions’ blasting on the tv 5 feet from my face. I have no clue what the Kardashions are up to and I couldn’t be happier about it! I’d much rather spend my evenings soaking up the day’s last bit of sunshine with Palmer rustling around in the woods behind me and the birds chirping in the background. It’s hard and it’s only May but I love it! I love plants. I love to grow things and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a giant blank canvas to play with.

This is the house about 2 weeks ago with the azaleas in full bloom. Enjoy them now because I really want to rip them out!

Azaleas in Bloom

They are really pretty this time of year…Azaleas

So the first project we did was till the garden! It looked like it had been a good 4-5 years since this garden has seen any action. This is the before picture.EHN_5277

I called around and found a local company that rents equipment and rented a garden tiller for the weekend.

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I also found a place nearly that sells truckloads of organic compost that we tilled into the garden.

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After about 10 hours and 3 truckloads later we had this:

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This is the top part of the garden and that weird looking soil was my desperate back-breaking attempt to “double dig” and get the snap peas, radishes and lettuces in the ground as soon as possible. This little section probably took me 3-4 hours of digging out rocks and carrying them in bucket-loads to dump in the woods. This is what convinced me to buy a wheelbarrow and rent a tiller. Also note the difference between the cheap Lowe’s compost and the local organic compost. I’m almost sorry I dug any compost in this section, I’m sure it would have been better if I just dug up and turned over the existing soil but live and learn! EHN_5289

At the last minute I decided to till up the soil near the fence and sow wildflowers along the fence line. As of now, I’m not too sure how this is going to look. The flowers are coming up slow and I can’t tell the difference between a flower and a weed so it may look like a giant weedy mess with hopefully some flowers on top but we’ll have to wait and see!EHN_5309

Palmer loves his new yard by the way!EHN_5310

So, once I got to this point I hadn’t really thought about what to do next so luckily I have a friend who’s a gardener who suggested I lay down some cardboard on the land I want to grow next season and sow some buckwheat as a cover crop on the bottom section.

I read that the cardboard suppresses the weeds and the earthworms will eat cardboard and turn it into the soil. Steve had no idea why I was doing this and just thought I was going insane. It doesn’t look very pretty but we just moved and I had to do something with all these boxes. Hopefully it will work. This is how it looked just after I laid the cardboard down and sowed the buckwheat. Somehow I thought I’d be able to do all this in an afternoon but it ended up taking about a week because I wanted to get as many weeds out as possible before I sowed the buckwheat and man those things grow fast!

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This is how the garden looks today! I drew up a garden plan (finally) and decided to create little pathways so I could actually access the plants without stomping all over them. The top bed there is the “nightshade” bed with a couple tomatoes and a pepper plant to get things started. You can see the buckwheat starting to come in.EHN_5407

Look at it doing its thang!EHN_5417

I also decided to make the top bed the perennial bed and planted some strawberries and I plan to get some blueberry and blackberry plants in there and hopefully some flowers.EHN_5410

So this is it! This is my garden I’ve been dreaming about for months, or years really. I’ve sort of abandoned all other projects to focus on this. There’s a ton of other things going on. It’s been awesome to move in when things were still cold and dormant and watch the yard wake up. Every day when I come home from work I throw on my play clothes and just walk around to see what has changed and there’s always something to see. My purple beans germinated and became giant leaves within the last 24 hours, I discovered a wild strawberry plant by the back stairs and all sorts of new flowers popping up. I love it here and I’m really looking forward to sharing it.

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