Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekly update

It has been an eventful week. I have been waiting to plant cucumbers, squash, beans and snap peas until the alley and fence were repaired. After 3 long mornings of hard work, several scrapes and scratches, and plenty of sore muscles, work is complete. I am sure that any but the least competent mason would laugh at my concrete work, but at least all of the fence supports are standing vertically of their own free will. The backyard even feels a little larger since the fence is not leaning over 2 or so feet. This project also gave me a reason to clean up the alley. Since previously the alley has only collected junk, I figure it is high time to put it to productive use. To this end I have cleared out the junk and replaced it with the compost bin, a trash can to collect rain, 4 large storage totes with holes drilled in the bottom to be used as planters for lettuce, peas and beans, and a few flowers. Lettuce, peas and some beans bolt in the heat of the summer, hopefully, since they do not get as much sun back in the alley, they will bolt more slowly. The peas will also provide a lovely view out of the kitchen window as the grow up the trellis. I am still working out how to attach hanging baskets or the like to provide places for flowers at window height. It doesn't look like much right now, but it is certainly a huge improvement over what was there, and it provides more square footage for growing stuff!

In straightening the fence we were also able to clean out all the ivy and morning glories that had previously tried to take over the wall. I hadn't realized how much space that had been taking up. The wall looks much better without all the greenery. The top of the retaining wall also gives me more space for the bean trellis- more about that later- and closer to the side door, a ledge to fill with flower pots.

From the regular view you can see that the radishes are going nuts and the fence is standing straight and tall. After all of our work we had managed to compact all the nice fluffy dirt that I have worked so hard to get that way. So I had to spend half an hour turning all the dirt over in preparation for planting squash, cucumbers and beans. The weather is supposed to be chilly the next few days though so they all have been covered with milk jug cloches (for most people, fancy glass jar things used as mini greenhouses). The lettuce has gotten to picking size and the flowers that were planted last week are starting to take hold and put on buds. You can't see them, but the irises apparently are a little confused... I said they were called "flags" for Flag day, which is June 14. Apparently my flags wanted to fly for Memorial Day. Several of the bearded irises are blooming and I watched one of the Dutch irises slowly opened while we were working on the fence, giving me an opportunity to watch magic unfold.

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