Monday, June 13, 2011

Lawn-to-Garden Project: Before and After

When we started looking for a place to call home in Smallish Small City we were surprised at how much house our dollars could buy, at least compared to our former urban location. In the end, it wasn't about the square footage of the house, it was about how much yard we could get and still be close to M's work (his commute, on foot, is 20 minutes). The house we bought was the last one we looked at on the first of three house-hunting days; it stood out because it was cool in a pueblo revival/pueblo-deco kind of way, but it was the yard that cinched it for us.

This photo was taken in October 2010, before we knew we were going to make an offer on the house. Note the sad little tufts of pampas grass and spindly Spanish Broom* in the sea of grass and weeds. In our minds' eyes, however, we saw a big vegetable garden, flower beds and plenty of space for the cats and dog to play. This series of Lawn-to-Garden (L2G) posts are about how that came about.
Why yes, that is Burmuda Grass. The first time we ran a tiller over that part of the yard it sighed and thanked us for the thatching.  "More dakka!" we cried, and returned the wimpy rent-a-scratcher. We then noted that it was 97 degrees out and opted for a Shiner and some extra time to figure out the best course of action.  M came back from work one day to find I had taken the simple path...
That's a pick in the lower right-hand corner of the plot outline. As I hewed my way across the yard I channeled my inner Tom Sawyer, "...hey, this is an intense functional activity not everyone has access to, maybe if we charged $5 per 30 minute session, the local CrossFit community could finish this quickly and cover the costs of straw and mulch as well..." Amazing what goes through your head when you're not used to doing this kind of work. We eventually got it all turned and tilled.

Fast forward to June 2011. There are fruit trees and a 1000+ sqft vegetable garden; the wall has been restuccoed; the shed torn down and another built out of our line-of-sight; there are glads and irises in the near beds; and, of course, we've added a mobile pool as an oasis for the 100 pound Chessie.
That's the short version, anyway. Next in the L2G catch-up posts: Talkin' Dirt-y.

*No plants were harmed in the making of this veggie garden; they were lovingly transplanted to a neighbor's yard.

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