my happy place…

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In the spirit of full disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate and do benefit from every click on the links in this article. However I do not write about products that I haven’t first purchased myself and decided that I loved. I hope you enjoy reading!

Gardening. Like pets… if you haven’t tried it, you can’t understand it. It started for me when we moved into our current house which was quite honestly the ugliest one on the block from the outside. It scored a negative number on the curb appeal scale.

I have always wanted to do things on my own. I absolutely hate hiring someone to do a job that I myself can do. So, on a vacation week from work, one beautiful spring about 6 years ago, I decided to landscape the front yard.

It desperately needed a tree. I loved how the Crepe Myrtles grow quickly and produce  gorgeous flowers late in the summer. My house is a  rancher, set at the bottom of a hill which makes up the front yard. So the tree had to be something that wouldn’t grow too tall and the Crepe Myrtle fit the bill.

My children were into this project when they were younger and together we traipsed to the local nursery, picked out a tiny two foot sapling, brought it home and planted it. It took off that first summer, doubling in size but did not flower. For the next few years, this tree at least doubled in size, quickly becoming 10 feet tall!

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I learned that each year a tree will either use energy to grow bigger or to flower well, but not both. My tree was growing like a monster, flowering a bit at the very end of the season for a very short time. I wanted to see if pruning it would help it flower better. So this year I did something new. I cut the top branches right before spring budding started. So far the tree appears fuller and rounder and hopefully will flower better as well.

This small project quickly turned into an entire front yard landscape. We’ve lost some plants but most have succeeded. I learned and continue to learn so much. I had to move my Hydrangeas (huge job) to another side of the house because the direct sun was making them wilt every day. My boxwoods died from overwatering. And my dogs thought that another little tree sapling was a play stick. They pulled it out of the ground and demolished it. The deer feasted on my tulips the first year… But overall now the house has great curb appeal and I am ready to start some serious gardening.

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I’ve been studying composting and the thing that finally broke me was this composting garden. It was just what I needed to make this project fly. I didn’t fully understand how it worked until setting it up, however.

Building it was a breeze. Sturdy and well made, no great assembly, just slide the pieces together and voila. Then the real work began. Filling it with enough layers of Carbon, Nitrogen and soil was quite a feat. I had plenty of Carbon, as recycling had been skipped on Memorial Day. But I had no Nitrogen. I didn’t really know where to get any either, so I decided to take a trip to the local nursery and ask. When I got there, they just happened to be trimming their trees and supplied me with a car trunk full of pine clippings and more! I purchased some good soil and was set. All of this filled my new garden about 2/3 of the way but I could not do any more this year. My illness allows me to do short bursts of activity and, although the project could have been completed in a day, it took me most of the week.

But I am rewarded with this beautiful garden now. I transplanted all my vegetables from the porch pots to their new home and they are happily growing now. I have cabbage, squash, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, potato and some herbs. I kept the blueberries and strawberries on the porch, however, as they really need protection from the birds and are already netted well.

And then I took up composting too! I spent hours researching the different composters available, eventually settling on this one. It’s the perfect size for my small garden, about 19 gallons, and is so cute and fun to roll around!

 

 

I have so far added kitchen vegetable scraps like too-ripe avocado, a paper towel inner tube, some old brown leaves and more. I add a bit of compost starter to the mix and roll it a few times every few days. I also got this nice little kitchen gadget. It took a bit of research to find this thing which sits in the freezer. I’m so happy that I don’t need something on my counter and I don’t want to worry about fruit flies, and this keeps the scraps in the freezer until I’m ready to move them to the outdoor composter.

If by any chance you are interested in my fantastic denim dress, I live in this thing! You can find it at idressmodest here!

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this! Please feel free to comment with suggestions or anything.

M

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