Small Garden, Big Jobs!

| April 30, 2012 | 6 Replies

Planting vegetables and caring for them is glamorous compared to the big jobs in your yard that have to be done every spring. Since my vegetables are growing in the front yard, except for tomatoes and potatoes in pots in the back yard, I tend to ignore the back. But, yesterday was the day to pay attention! And I had to get my trusty helper, Rene, over here to help me with some BIG JOBS. If you are a late bloomer like me, you know when you just can’t handle it by yourself, and you have to call in a professional!

I went through the day’s agenda with Rene:

1) Remove a few giant, climbing bamboo (which we planted when they built large houses on either side of us) that were hitting the house when the wind blew;

2) After the glorious bloom in February, the wisteria grew like crazy and needed to be cut back off the art studio and garage;

3) Relocate 400 pounds of polished stone that I had taken out of the planter and had been sitting in trays for a month collecting rainwater and smelling bad;

4) Finally, to the front yard where I wanted a guardrail built around my gas meter.

The Guardrail: Because a good portion of my vegetable garden resides in the parkway, I built the soil up a few inches from street level, but that was a problem near my gas meter, where the mud kept washing down over it. I needed a small retaining wall around it. I was all set to head off to the gardening store and procure some curved bricks when Rene suggested we use pieces of bamboo that he was going to be cutting anyway. I was thrilled at the idea of reusing something natural and we made quick work of that assignment. Well, Rene did most of the work with his sharp saw and hammer. I held the long pieces while he cut them.

The Wisteria: Rene heads up the ladder to the garage roof.

When Rene was on the roof, he said he really should clean out the gutters, so I added that to the list.

While Rene was cleaning out the gutters, he found excrement in them from a raccoon, or very large cat, he surmised. He found it on top of the art studio as well. Rene said he had a friend who had a cat problem and the man bought coyote urine online and set it out in a dish and it kept the animals away!  Maybe I’ll try that. Here he is on the art studio roof.

While we were at it, Rene said we really needed to cut back the neighbors’ vines coming over the fence, and clear out the mountain of leaves that were choking the walkway behind the garage shed.  So, we forged ahead with that task and he cut while I hauled.

We only have one green recycling bin, and that was full in no time.

It was at this point, while Rene was climbing the wall like a monkey cutting back vines behind the garage, that I plowed head first into the extension ladder that protruded from it’s hook. That pretty much sidelined me for the rest of the afternoon.  Here I am with an ice pack.

The most I exerted myself afterwards was to make us some fresh ice tea. Here I am somewhat recovered.

There was NO light back here before he starting hacking away and the wall was covered in vines. Now, it’s clean as a whistle!

Rene finished that job, and moved all the stones without me.

By the end of the day, I was out front resting with an ice pack on my head, when my neighbor helpers (you will see them a lot in “Late Bloomer”) came over wanting to plant something. So, we planted corn seed! They were fighting over who got to pour in the dirt and put the seeds in the hole! Gardening is so rewarding, even when it’s big jobs you’ve got to do, but, it’s especially sweet when young people are interested in seeing things grow!

Coming up tomorrow, “Catch-up Day,” Episode 3 of “Late Bloomer.” Thanks for reading! – Kaye

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Grunt Work

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. edythe preet says:

    When I moved into my Valley bungalow 10 years ago, the back yard was a literal junk yard – old bedsteads, sheds, rusty bike frames, etc. I determined to clear it out and put in a garden. Three months later, after hauling perhaps a ton of mini boulders in my then Benz (poor Benz) and rescuing broken concrete from neighbors refitted driveways and salvaging discarded railroad ties and logs from a hewn local tree, I had my infraplan in place: (4) 4×8 veggie beds, (1) 6×10 rose/herb bed, sinuous side flower beds, an offside rose island, a couple of arbors (rescued from recycling), a grapevine on the old clothesline poles, and a pond (!). Then I contacted a mushroom grower and had a dump truck of spent mushroom compost delivered – way too much for my project, so I shared the excess with gardening pals. Finally it was time to put in a bunch of potted plants inherited from a friend who moved to Idylwild and many flats of baby veggies and flowers. It was all neat and tidy and full of promise. Then everything began to grow like Jack’s Beanstalk (a result of the mushroom compost!). Ten years later, my garden has gone through many changes. The baby Meyer Lemon and Turkey Brown Fig have both become massive trees. The arbors have become secluded meditation sanctums. The single rose stalks have grown into lush bushes. And I have learned the true secret of having a garden. Unlike most projects that have a defined beginning, middle and end, a garden’s cycle is ‘beginning, middle and do over’!

  2. I love the wisteria! Hope your head feels better…gardening isn’t supposed to hurt!

  3. Frank List says:

    Not sure which of the pics in this article is more precious…the one w your neighbors planting corn or you kicked back balancing tea on your forehead!
    Garden work wasn’t my fave on the farm but you make look like it could have been fun!

    • Thanks for following my blog, Frank! That’s an ice pack on my head, but same idea. I’ve hit my head about four times, hard, since my conversion to gardening last fall, and I think I’m going to start wearing a helmet! It won’t keep me from the garden, cause I LOVE it! Hey, please share with friends that care for gardening and growing vegetables. I need to reach thousands of people. Thanks, in advance! Did you see the new episode?

Leave a Reply