Goodbye May, Hello June!

May 26th: On Tuesday I wasn’t able to work in the yard and do garden prep due to the rain. These weather related setbacks are beginning to stress me out a little bit. I’m really starting to feel the clock ticking and I’m hoping I’ll be able to complete this May goal! In order to plan for our garden, I decided to read a little more from the gardening books I purchased back in April. According to the book, Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet, there are 3 golden rules of growing your own crops: 1) Get to know your plot 2) Decide what you want to grow and 3) Maximize your harvest. I’ve been weighing my options all month now trying to decide the best way to plant our garden. The book suggests the following options: 1) In the soil 2) Raised Beds 3) Containers 4) Creative spaces. My original plan was to plant a garden in large containers, such as water troughs but I decided against that idea in order to reduce costs. After much consideration, I’ve decided to build a raised garden bed.  Hopefully I’ll be able to finally begin the project tomorrow!

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May 27th: On Wednesday I was finally able to break ground thanks to the tools Laura and Derek let me borrow. Originally I thought I would have to rent a rototiller, which would have been expensive and probably dangerous to use on my own. The handheld tools meant a longer, time-consuming process, but they took care of the job in a few days. There are many benefits to building a garden in a raised bed. 1) You can build them anywhere, including soil-less spaces. 2) Problematic soil? No problem! Build a raised bed and add the perfect soil mix, regardless of whether you live in a location with heavy clay or very light and sandy conditions. 3) Your growing space can be temporary. Whether the space be a public space or rented property, raised beds are ideal. They are cheap, easy to construct and they allow you to quickly start growing. 4) Recycled materials can be used to make raised beds, such as old bricks, scaffolding boards, metal sheets, used tires or even an old wading pool. 5) Raised beds are easier to protect from pests because they are contained areas. Use netting to keep birds away and butterflies from laying eggs. Chicken wire will deter larger pests, such as birds, foxes, deer, or cats, like the neighbor cat that keeps pooping in our flower beds! 6) Building beds 3-4ft across makes it easier to tend crops.

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May 28th-31st: There’s nothing like waiting until the last possible minute to meet your goal! Joe and I had to make a second trip back to Lowes to have lumber cut and then we finally built the raised bed. The second step was covering the bed with newspaper. This keeps the weeds from poking through the ground and disrupting the vegetables.

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After yet another trip to Lowes for organic garden soil, compost and fertilizer, I was finally able to fill the raised beds. The book Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet suggested filling the raised bed with 45% topsoil, 45% peat-free soil mix, and 10% coarse grit. I decided to go with Laura and Derek’s recommendation instead. Once the soils were mixed, the all-organic planting began! In the weeks ahead, we hope to have more than enough tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, carrots, swiss chard, beets, celery and spinach to share with all of you! At the end of the day, I realized I forgot to plant a couple staple items, such as a variety of onions and garlic, which we use in about every meal we make. DOH! I guess that means I’ll be adding a second and possibly even third raised bed in the space we have left! Stay tuned with updates as our garden grows!

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Days 20-25

May 20th: I made a trip to Lowes today for raised bed supplies. The guy who helped me in the lumber department was on his way out the door for lunch and said that the saw was broken. I wasn’t able to cut one of the pieces of lumber, which puts me behind in building the bed. I’ll have to borrow a saw or go back next week to get this piece cut. Along with the treated lumber I also purchased wood screws, organic vegetable seeds, more mulch, and organic soil.

May 21st: Today I focused on another section in the backyard that sides with the neighbor’s garage. We had three overgrown tree-like bushes that are so big they can’t seem to stand up on their own anymore. I trimmed those back and did a ton of weeding in this area. It still needs new mulch and a little more work but it’s a start at least.

Before & After

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May 22nd: I added new mulch to the bushes at the side of our house and oh what a difference that makes!  Joe and I leave for Portland, Oregon today to visit Lucas Ward, one of our dear friends and Joe’s friend from high school. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend everyone!

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May 23rd-25th: Joe and I had a really great time in Portland this weekend! On Saturday we visited Mt. Hood where we hiked about 10 miles to Ramona Falls, Mirror Lake and Timberline Lodge, which was featured in the movie, The Shining. Words can’t describe how sore and tired we were by the end of the day. Joe and I could barely walk our legs and hips hurt so bad!

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On Sunday we visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland and went zip lining at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour, a course Lucas designed and built with his company, Synergo. That evening we headed west to the coast and visited Cannon Beach.

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The Pacific Northwest is absolutely stunning! The air is so fresh with the natural scent of fur and pine and due to high precipitation everything is beautiful and green. The moss-covered forests are so vibrant was the most beautiful colors and flowers. Nature and beauty are everywhere, even in the tiniest of tea cups in local diners! 😉 I can’t wait to add this kind of color to our garden and yard!

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Days 13-19

May 13th: I started my morning off by taking measurements in the space where I’d like to start a raised garden bed. Laura and Violet stopped by for a morning visit and I ran my ideas by her. I was able to show her the work I’ve already done and she gave suggestions on how I can separate some of my hostas and daylilies to create a little more symmetry in various places. We also talked about the sick tree in our front yard. For some reason it’s shedding bark but the leaves are still growing just fine. If you’ve ever experienced this before, please let me know what we should do. I was hoping new mulch would help but so far I haven’t noticed any change and I’m worried because it’s a beautiful tree.

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May 14th: We have two plants at the side of our house (I have no idea what they are) that are very green throughout the summer and they bloom really pretty white flowers for a short period of time in the fall. I had originally left these untouched when I was doing all of my weeding the last couple of weeks. Laura suggested yesterday that I cut away all of the “dead stuff” and oh what a difference it makes! I didn’t have a ton of time to spend outside today so this was the perfect little project to accomplish my goal.

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May 15th: I decided my time would be best spent mowing the lawn today. The weekend forecast calls for rain so that quickly became my priority for the day. Joe’s schedule is also very crazy for the next couple of days so I wanted to take that responsibility off of his plate so he can focus on practicing for rehearsals, concerts and upcoming auditions.

May 16th-18th: As predicted the rain forced me to postpone gardening for the weekend. We had recitals at MTMS so I wouldn’t have had a ton of time anyways.

May 19th: I added gardening soil and mulch along the backside of our house in hopes extend some of our landscaping around back. I plan to separate one of our larger hostas and purchase one or two coral bells to add to this space.

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Hello, May!

May 1st-4th: Hello, May! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to start my May goal of gardening! Over the last 6-8 weeks, I dedicated every ounce of my time and energy to audition preparation and I am excited to move onto something new for awhile. I had my CSO audition on Monday and unfortunately, I let my nerves get the best of me, I didn’t play my best and I didn’t advance to the semifinal round of auditions on May 11th. Although I was really upset on my drive home, I woke up on Tuesday with a fresh perspective. I’m proud that I put myself out there and tried at all. It made me a stronger player, gave me the confidence to start taking lessons again, and now I’m that much more prepared for the next audition that comes along. As luck would have it, I just sent my resume for the New Albany Symphony Orchestra’s Audition on May 30th. They don’t have openings in the flute section, but I can at least audition to be on their sub list.

I had a slight overlap of my April and May goal and obviously made audition preparation a first priority over gardening. I was able to take a short break from practicing to take some “before” pictures around our yard and read a little from the two books I purchased a couple weeks ago from the Book Loft in German Village.

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May 5th & 6th: After an early morning workout, I headed straight outside to start working in the yard. It was still pretty wet from the rain the night before, but I did my best to get the ball rolling. With this week’s high temperatures, it’s best to get yard work out of the way in the morning before it gets too hot. My first goal was to remove all of the weeds, old mulch and dead mums from last season. The lamb’s ear, purple flox and mums have already started growing back! I still need to purchase and lay new mulch so stay tuned!

Before & After

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May 7th: I was back at it again early this morning, but decided to work primarily in the shade due to the high temperatures and glaring sun. I focused on a small area on the back side of the house where all of our perennials have started growing back this season. So far this area looks really nice, but I still need to add new mulch. I’m hoping that Joe can go with me to Lowes this weekend, because I can’t carry the mulch bags myself.

Before & After

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May 8th: I wasn’t able to clear all of the leaves from our flower beds this fall before the first snowfall, so I have some catching up to do. I removed all of last season’s dead stuff, pulled a ton of weeds and trimmed the ivy that grows around our flower beds. I still need to lay new mulch, but here are some before and after shots of each section. I had purchased some hydrangeas last summer that I had in pots on our front porch. Right before the first freeze this past fall I planted them on the side of the house in hopes they would grow back this year. In the last pictures you can see them poking through! I still have a ton of projects to accomplish around the house before I can plant a vegetable garden, but I’m hoping that by the end of next week I will be ready!

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