Reflecting on past spaces

>> Saturday, July 28, 2007

I was sitting on the back deck yesterday afternoon looking out over the beds I have planted. They really have come a long way from when we first moved here.

I went to the computer and began looking at some pictures I had taken before the projects were started and it felt good to compare how the yard has changed.

Here are a couple of pictures of the backyard in April of 2005:

This one shows the new raised beds I had just built and filled with soil and compost.

The back fence needs some sort of vine and shrubs to 'pretty it up' a bit. That's an apple tree in front of the beds.

This one shows a concrete pad that had a dog house on it and the area to the right is the future site of a perennial flower bed.

A plum tree is against the fence to the right of the apple tree.

These next two pictures show the backyard in May of 2006:

That's a cherry tree to the left and a box elder hanging over my shed from the yard behind us. This tree is the home to hundreds of box elder bugs. Nasty flying red things that are just bothersome. They say these bugs don't eat anything in the garden and so far I guess that has been shown, but they are messy.

Nothing much has changed here. I did dig up the future perennial bed on the right next to the fence and am getting rid of the weeds and will add compost etc before planting it in Spring 2007.

I have decided to pile compost material on the concrete pad hoping to get some compost. I know it isn't an ideal location, being on concrete, but at least it's a start.

These final two pictures show the backyard in July of 2007:

The 'Heritage' raspberry bushes behind the cherry tree finally produced and they were plump and juicy.The plants are five years old this year and I was told they don't produce before this age.

Here the perennial bed has finally been planted and almost everything is surviving, much to my surprise. I do have a record of killing off plants. I'm thinking that just maybe I am beginning to get the hang of this gardening thing. I did just feed everything a couple of days ago, so that's a positive thing.

Looking at the grass I can see it is beginning to return to a semi-healthy state. In 2005 I attempted to feed it on what I thought was a regular schedule but by 2006 I could tell that I did not yet understand how or when to do it. So, I hired a lawn service in 2006 before I did irreparable damage. Now I understand that I am supposed to sprinkle the lawn with some sort of compost/top soil mixture and aerate it every year.

I did have it aerated last year and again this year. When they aerated it this year their machine would barely dig into the ground which led me to ask questions about why. It seems that I may not be watering it well enough and I suspect there are other problems that I have not yet been 'made aware of'. It seems there always is something additional that needs to be done or I need to add a little 'finesse' in doing it the way I am.

As far as watering goes, I keep hearing and reading that you should water about 20 minutes several times a week with an occasional 'deep watering' but that is if you have an installed irrigation system, which I don't. You can see the garden hose laid out across the lawn and this is my irrigation system. I followed the 'experts' advice attempting to get enough water on the backyard and my wife took care of the front yard. I noticed she watered a lot longer than I did but I didn't say anything until towards the end of the year. The result was that the front yard greened up a lot better than the backyard. So, I am convinced that I need to water a lot more.

Boy, this learning process is long and arduous. If only I had an expert that can look at it and tell me (complete with a proper schedule) what to do then I would have the confidence to do it myself. I guess learning is a reward in and of itself so I have to keep learning in order to keep being rewarded.


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