Archive for the ‘digging in the dirt’ Category


what’s going on in my life: the less inane version

January 4, 2011

Every now and then around here, I feel like taking a break from my busy blog life of telling you about how much I hate air travel, why my landlord is evil and my roommates are awesome, or whatever silly thing I feel like sharing.  What better way to take a break from these things than to let you know what’s actually going on?

Lots more behind the cut if you’re interested.

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hooray for dogs and gardens

April 14, 2010

BREAKTHROUGH!  The community garden guy is here and my dog is fine with that!  He was willing to meet her, feed her some chicken, and pet her a bit, and she chilled out in a hurry.  Also, he seems to think that planting some parasitic wasp attracting beneficials will be a good idea (when I mentioned that I was doing it to protect all of my brassicas out front).  Yay for preventing monoculture in the backyard!

Anyway, this is a small note of happy to go along with the fact that I’m also getting stuff done, and feeling good about it.  Of course, right now I am sitting in the backyard in the shade listening to the neighbor and garden guy chat while planting their brassica seedlings, with the dog chilling out next to me, finishing up a bit of email business and getting this posted.  I have a few other things I wanted to post about, but I’ll get to that later on today, I think, depending on how much I get done.

Hooray for happy hump days!

P.S.  Brassica, just in case you don’t recognize the genus, includes cabbage, broccoli, collards, a bunch of other tasty things.  I’ll be planting collards, kale, and brussels sprouts; the community garden seems to be doing broccoli and cabbage.


the battle of the spurge

March 29, 2010

Meet my mortal enemy.

It's meaner than it looks.

I decided yesterday that I’d rather play in the dirt than work problems on p-n junctions, so I went to work in the front yard, where I’m planning to put an elaborate garden this summer.  Previously, the beds I want to use were infested with leafy spurge, a noxious weed native to Australia that is a serious problem here in Colorado.  The folks upstairs invested some major effort in removing it last year, so I thought it’d be a matter of turning over the soil, removing the flower bulbs that are coming up, and pulling a few stray spurge roots.  I was deluding myself.

Turns out leafy spurge is a bitch to remove.  This beast spreads by seed and by creeping horizontal roots, and it can have taproots up to thirty feet deep.  I spent 3 hours working in one bed (about five by three paces), and I removed an entire trash can full of roots.  I don’t think I’m done.  Seriously, this plant has a root system that a friggin’ oak tree would envy.

The best part?  The entire plant leaks an irritating latex-like sap (think milkweed), and if you get it on your skin, it causes rashes and such.  Mmm, fun.  I did wear gloves, but it really sucks to be cursing and sweating and up to your ankles in dirt and tangled root masses and remember that you have to be careful, too.  Caution and frustration do not exactly go hand in hand.  I got lucky, I suppose, since I’m rash-free.  My prepubescent helpers (the kids upstairs got in on the job once they saw…uh…how much fun I was having, I guess) were not so lucky, but apparently the rashes are already fading.

Anyhow, I am hoping that if I leave the bed alone for a few days, most of the roots that I missed will dry out from being somewhat exposed, and that I can invest maybe only another hour or so in pulling out the stragglers.  I’m hoping.  Then, of course, I get to repeat the process with the other two beds, which are both slightly larger (three by six paces).  That extra three square paces could add up to an hour of extra time, realistically.

I curse whoever first brought spurge to Colorado, and I hope they die a violent death by rhizome strangulation or something similarly karmic.

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my garden will kick your garden’s ass

March 11, 2010

Looklooklooklooklook what I did tonight!

This is my front yard. Or, it will be, anyway...right now it's the floor of my bedroom and some scrap paper.

As a I-didn’t-fuck-up-my-midterm treat, I spent the evening enjoying pinot grigio, the Dovekins and then Laura Goldhamer (on the stereo), and finally planning the front yard garden guilt-free.  This is the product of weeks of daydreaming, 15 minutes of talking with the landlords/upstairs neighbors, and two and a half hours of intense planning action.  I can only hope it ends up as awesome as it feels right now.

So why exactly will my garden kick your garden’s ass?  Well, several reasons.  One, this isn’t my whole garden.  I also have a container garden in the backyard, and am organizing a micro-coop amongst the physics kids to share yard space and labor.  The micro-coop (perhaps nano, pico, or femto are more accurate prefixes here…it’s like 6 people right now) will share two backyards plus part of this stuff.

The more legit reason(s) why my garden will kick your garden’s ass is that this garden will flavor my food, soothe my cough, make me pesto, help me go to sleep, draw the rats away from the house, let me eat a metric fuckton of collards that the chickens and cabbage worms won’t touch, help the beehive flourish, and boost my immune system.  Can your garden do that?  In other words, it’s a medicinal herb/culinary herb/beneficial planting/vegetable garden all rolled into one.  BAM!

Since most of you will never see this glorious garden, let me take you on a tour, below the cut.

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