Like Neil Young himself, I too was searching for a heart of gold. Well… I knew where to find one, it was the financier I was looking for. Found it!
I was rewarded for all of my hard work at the shop with a nice little budget to start re-planting the shade gardens on the NW side of our house. You might remember last year as I tried all kinds of things that ultimately failed (radishes, carrots, spinach) all from seed, all failures. Turned out all we needed was some reliable irrigation and that came in the form of my new gardener Hermino. He’s terrific. Like the little baby jesus delivered me an Angel of Horticulture… but more on Hermino later.
Today, Gadzuki & I went to Plant World to get some things that would be suitable for a partially shady area, wouldn’t mind the encroaching oleanders and could stair step down in 3 tiers. Oh yeah, and it would have to be considerate of the last thing my husband said to me before he left for work… “Don’t cover up the lights.”
Two toddler sized shoes in the turtle pond later, we had what we had come for. The same kid that helped us out to the car with our vegetables yesterday loaded us up and as I was fastening my kid in the carseat I heard him say “Have a great day, Beautiful”. WHAT? I’m almost positive I looked around for another person in the parking lot that he might have been talking to. Now normally I would just take this as a compliment, say if it came from the 60 year old man that had just run my debit card… but for some reason, out of the mouth of a twenty something kid, I’m inclined to roll my eyes and laugh. I know I should just be gracious and go on my merry way… but for what ever reason I can’t. Twenty year old boys are silly, and the idea that this one thought he could flirt with me is some how offensive… I mean, doesn’t he know who my husband is? Ha! (I JOKE!!) Really, they should be used to dealing with celebrities… Nick Cage was there yesterday when we arrived. (Still Joking!! Not about the Nick Cage thing, he was really there… I’m joking about my poor husbands celebrity status.)
Here’s what we got:
1. A Hearts of Gold Redbud tree. (I’ve been pining over this tree for over a year)
2. 2 Blushing Susie Black-Eyed Susan Vines (because they remind me of my mothers garden)
3. 6 Vinca Major (periwinkle)
4. 1 flat of “baby tears” (ground cover)
And here are some before and afters:
As you can see… this section of the yard needs a lot of work still, but its nice to know one small chunk is done.
And with that I’m back home, in the place I love the most. My garden. 1 month (almost to the day) later… Our guitar shop http://www.cowtownguitars.com has successfully relocated to the Arts District, we’ve hired an employee and my days are free again to play in the dirt. Our grand opening party was last First Friday (you can check out photos here, courtesy of http://www.onethirtyeight.org) and other than a few more indoor plants to re-pot and some raised beds to assemble in the back yard… my work there is done. Mostly…
I’ll just leave you with some photos of my gardens over the last month and pick up where I left off last month, in the next few days.
So its almost been a year since my brilliant kid helped me turn an old desk on its side and we announced to the family that we would begin collecting their trash for the garden. All in all its been an easy adjustment and well worth the added effort. It helps a lot that we were broke as a joke in the beginning and my gardening habit (see: need for good soil) was costing my husband a small fortune. Its pretty easy to get someone on board with something, even if it goes against their inner most constitution when it saves them money. My husband is not a hippy. Not now, not ever. To him, collecting ones trash and growing your own food in it later, quickly gets thrown in the “Hippy” category and left there for all of eternity. But like I said, we were poor… and composted mulch I was buying at the store was about 3 bucks a bag. And I was buying ten at a time. Our house sits on a large lot and having been a foreclosure when we bought it, well… there was a lot of soil to amend.
From the beginning every member of the family was on board. It was Juniors great idea, Tony always delivered the scraps from the kitchen to the bin after dinner and Gadzuki eats his weight in apples each month… so the cores really did add up. Here was the first post about our compost.
Soon after we got started, Gadzuki’s pre-school The Kids Co-op got a compost bin. Again, Jesse… tolerating my “Hippy” tendencies and being the all around great Dad that he is, volunteered to take the morning off work and put it together. Big Fun! 3.5 hours later the Co-op started its composting program and I’m happy to report that I just recently mulched the gardens with their 2nd round of complete compost! (I am the one lady Kids Co-op Gardening committee).
With Spring rearing its head a little early this year, our family has spent the last couple weekends gardening. While it feels so good to get back into the swing of things mentally (my body would have to disagree), I was a little disappointed with my compost. While the one I started mid summer #9 (and damn near forgot about) was completely magical and ready to go, the one that was started just going into fall (#10) was a little lackluster. I’m resisting the urge to put chemicals in it to fire it back up, so here’s what we did:
HOW TO FIRE BACK UP YOUR COMPOST AFTER WINTER!
We started by completely cleaning out the finished (and might I add, beautiful) compost – bin number #9. I added it all around the garden and any I had left we put in a planter I know will have veggies soon enough.
After that we split the contents of the left side of the bin (compost #10), I think my mistake was adding a large portion of the Christmas Tree to it back in December… Live and Learn, right?
I raked up some leaves (brown)…
And Junior mowed the lawn (greens)…
We combined them with a little soil and made a delicious compost “Lasagna” as the experts call it.
Water was added and then it was covered. From here on out we will only add to the Right side of the bin, thus turning it into compost #11!
Its hard to believe that in less than a year (only by a few days) we have successfully completed and used 10 rounds of compost in the garden. This is really exciting stuff. I’ve learned a few things along the way I thought I might share… #1. Avocado seeds and skin are not worth the wait. #2. You really can keep the smell down considerably by omitting Dairy, Oil and Meat, #3. Kids love worms and #4. Composting your own rubbish really will save you time, energy and money.
Have I told you before? I LOVE Dirt!!!
THIS WEEK – The weather has dipped back down into the low 60’s and high 30’s at night around here… I’m not sure how much gardening I’ll be doing, but check back for some exciting posts on motherhood in the garden and some other personal anacdotes!
The fact is, it is an excuse. If I were a different kind of person I might have kept gardening after a car drove through my flower garden, and into the living room… but the fact is I gave up. On June 4th, 2011 a couple of drunk teenagers with a BB guns, joy riding in their parents Chevy Malibu were chased by the cops into our neighborhood… it ended in our living room. The driver was arrested, but we were left with a massive hole in the side of our home and I guess now that I’m actually taking time to write about it… our hearts too.
We were very lucky that no one was hurt. The big boys were at their Grandma’s house and none of the neighborhood kids happened to be playing on the corner (a RARE day!) Our incredible friends and neighbors came over immediately and spent hours helping us clean. We weren’t the only ones amazed when the house was livable at the end of the night. Here is a clip from the news if you want to see it.
After the former wall was removed and our house was successfully boarded up I did spend a couple days transferring the plants from my demolished garden into the backyard. Here’s a photo:
The new spot in the backyard is now called “the salvage garden”, it made it through the summer heat and is now thriving. But after seeing my little flower garden, my first attempt at gardening in our new home, my baby really… completely demolished and subsequently stomped on day after day by “constructors” (as Gadzuki called them). I really did lose my steam. I quit.
I continued doing the bare minimum and managed to keep the gardens in the backyard alive through the long summer, but didn’t touch the front. After 3 months of construction, buying a new business with my husband and the kids back in school I was finally able to look at that little space again without feeling sad. I’m no psychologist but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the superficial loss of my flower garden that was the problem. Maybe it was what all of those dead flowers represented. The truth is It could have been me, more easily could have been my husband (who was sitting in the living room when the car hit) and the worst thing of all… The most horrible thing a mother could ever think of; it could have been my baby. Gadzuki. Who was sleeping on the couch, under that window, just minutes before THOSE kids, drove THAT car across my lawn, through my garden and into my living room.
In the end I guess it helped me put things in perspective… I was spending 8 hours a day gardening and blogging before the accident. Afterwards my priorities shifted and all I wanted to do was spend time with my family. I needed to keep Jesse & Gadzuki where I could see them, and as luck would have it I was able to all summer!
2 weeks after construction started we bought a guitar shop, http://www.cowtownguitars.com for those interested. In a funny twist of fate I was able to keep them by my side and in my line of sight all summer long as we worked together in our new shop.
So as we get ready to welcome 2012, I’d just like to say that I’m back (and I’ve got the leaves and dirt in my hair to prove it). Today I turned composts #’s 7 & 8, tore out tomatoes/eggplants and added some brown matter to the old beds. The next couple weeks we’ll be busy getting three new raised beds installed before spring and before long we’ll be starting seeds in the garage! Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to share with you all of my trails and tribulations of the next growing season here at the Hotel Amoroso!
Happy New Year!
Next time: we’ll revisit the old compost pile and hopefully teach (and document) a friend as she starts her own!!