Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Earth Day 2006

Yesterday was Earth Day. I'd like to claim I knew that, but I went the whole day without remembering. Amazingly, I ended up doing activities appropriate to Earth Day anyway.

We got a somewhat late start to the morning. I made coffee and goofed around with some home design computer programs. Having spent an hour and a half on Wednesday giving the back and side yards their first attention of the season, I was determined to find a way to modify our landscaping so the side yard doesn't devolve into a weed-strewn strip of no man's land that I have to spend time and energy clearing merely to please the Home Owners Association fascists. The side yard in particular perplexes me, because it is a strip of land about six feet wide and about fifty feet long. It's got great southern exposure, and used to be nothing but a strip of bark chips that has now been thoroughly taken over by clover and what I fear is common crupina. I want to till the soil, put down some weed barrier, and maybe go as crazy as building a series of narrow raised beds to take advantage of that southern exposure sunshine. Add some bark chips and a stone path to the back and I'd much more pleased with the space.

After my fantasies for the yard had taken shape, we jaunted down to Tim's for a couple of hours and whipped up a batch of cinnamon rolls from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Quick, easy, and delicious (even though we distracted Tim with game talk so that a couple of steps were missed). Definitely delicious anyway.

Tim and Chris took off for a day of board game play with friends on the eastside while Kate and I ran off and bought a cart of spring seedlings. As I've had no luck whatsoever in growing mint from seed the last two years, I bought some mint seedlings and will try it that way. We also bought a selection of other herbs, vegetables, and flowers. I spent the afternoon preparing soil and containers so we can transplant our purchases. I also refreshed our stock of birdseed and finally bought a hook for our hummingbird feeder. I re-tied some of the branches on our apple tree so I can keep them from overshadowing the whole yard without trimming them off the tree. The branches should be fine when the tree grows taller, but right now they're at eye-poke and head-swat level.

Somehow Kate and I managed to spend a good portion of the day outside, under blue spring skies and the warm (and welcome!) sun. I made some progress in the yard and as Chris and I swear we're going to do less traveling this year, maybe I'll even be able to prevent my garden from drying up and dying this summer.


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Blogger Evan Says:

We just finished a free series of Natural Yard Care classes put on by Lake Forest Park and King County.

For an easy (though not really quick), chemical-free weed-killing method that even zaps invading grass and will actually improve your soil, do this...

1) Cover the area (meaning that nasty fine-threatening side yard) with cardboard (something you've got a surplus of).

2) Weigh it down (if necessary) with rocks or bricks or cases of Secret College of Necromancy. :p

Then, either:

3) Cover all the cardboard with compost. (Cedar Grove is really good, and 100% natural.)


3) Cover the mulch with wood chips (not beauty bark, but the end result of someone cramming branches in a chipper).

(You can do both Step Threes, if you're feeling extravagant. Just make sure the compost is underneath the wood chips.)

4) Either get the whole area wet with a hose, or live in Seattle.

5) Ignore. (But do pull up any undesireable plants that might manage to sprout there.) Let the cardboard rot away. Give it a year and you'll have great soil there, and can start over with planned plants.

At our old house we used this method (though with beauty bark over cardboard) to eradicate bishop's weed, which is one nasty evil plant.


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