Monday, March 23, 2015


The Beav's much-anticipated (much-needed) spring rains have arrived. It's wet, wild and windy today -- an unpredictable mash-up of gully-washing rain and explosive bursts of sunlight.

And I have a head cold -- the first of the year. It's the perfect day to blog and binge watch Food Network and Home and Garden Television.

The perfect afternoon to talk about groundbreakings.

Groundbreaking #1

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Think Outside the Box Acres. (Yes, yes. I realize they bear a strong resemblance to a pair of coffins, but they are raised community garden beds and they are all ours.)

We weren't counting on getting a community garden spot this year Community gardening appears to be a crazy popular spring and summer sport in The Beav, and we've been on two waiting lists since the beginning of the year. But, lo and behold, we got the magic email -- and we were in! Best of all, the garden is within walking/biking distance of The Lane.

And one more little dividend. We just heard from our garden steward: There will be barbecues and other garden get-togethers! Bring it. Please note, however, that we carefully check the backseat of our car for unexpected little "dividends" during zucchini season.

We've been prepping the beds for about three weeks. This has involved removing some very impressive, very petrified onions, and cracking into a very hard, very resistant very thick crust of top soil. Ground breaking has taken on a whole new meaning.

We've also had our first introduction to one of Oregon's most hated beloved gardening resources -- clay soil. Don't ask me how clay ended up in two raised beds filled with store-bought soil, but it has. Hint: It looks like chunks of giant cat poop.

There are now many chunks of giant faux cat poop under the hedges on the north side of our community garden. And 6 cubic feet of soil amendment worked into the raised beds.

We're ready to plant -- beans, beets, radishes go into the left bed. . . and when good-size plants are available at our local farmers market, tomatoes (heirloom and cherry) will reside in the bed on the right.

There will never be anything quite like When Pigs Fly Farm, but the coffins beds at The Acres will be fun. Let's barbecue!
Bwahahahahahahah! Get it?
I love it
when vegetable gardeners make funny.
Groundbreaking #2

When we moved onto The Lane last fall, the Postage Stamp Patio consisted of two imperturbable clumps of Japanese sedge grass and one anorexic bamboo stalk. It does step down into the Sad Side Yard, which is nice -- but it's so sad that we aren't even dealing with it till next year. Instead, our focus will be the PSP.

Last fall, and well into the winter, we thought we would be creating the ultimate shade garden. It was shade, shade, shade morning, noon and night. I dreamed of ferns, hosta, varigated Jacob's ladder, foxglove and other luscious shade plants all winter long. But surprise! Although the PSP is mostly shady in the morning and early afternoon, it turns schizo on us in the afternoon -- with bright sunlight from the west dividing one-half to one-third of each bed into late after/early evening.

Hmmmmm. Back to the drawing board with a few sun-lovers -- sedum "Autumn Joy" and Tuscan Blue rosemary. They've joined some maiden hair fern and two Tasmanian pepper bushes. Yeah. They're small. They'll grow. Smaller plants are cheaper. And I'm cheap.

The bigger issue was the considerable slope of the PSP's west bed -- sloping right toward the patio. Problem solved during a weeding session. . . or perhaps, more accurately a rock-ing session. I kept turning up rocks as I weeded, which led me to look at the west bed with a speculative "What if?"

What if we leveled things off and added a small, stone "retaining wall" with all these flippin' rocks I was digging up? My date joined in the rock hunt (much to the neighbors' entertainment, I think), which soon encompassed the front and side yard, and this is our finished product:

Boom. (Pre-pansies.)
Next stop. A camelia per chance? Definitely a climbing hydrangea. And hostas? Of course.

The Postage Stamp Patio simply demands it.

1 comment:

  1. Well you have done 500% more on your PSP than I have on my PSP. Congrats!