March 24, 2007 - Planted the eggplant. Transplanted some beets and kohlrabi from the backyard.
March 18, 2007 Planting Party. The party was a lot of
fun and a big success. We finished the sod removal (thanks Brett!), turned over the soil, added fertilizer
and fish meal, added a thick layer of compost, and turned over the soil a second time. After a lunch
break, we planted everything except the eggplant Fran gave us, the melons and the seeds that Joyce brought.
The party wrapped up around 3pm.
At one point while turning over the soil near a sprinkler line, we heard a pop. We were worried that the line had gotten broken, but couldn't find a crack. After the party wrapped I turned on the sprinklers and discovered the break in the line. Fortunately it was in the dug up area and I was able to get it fixed fairly easily.
March 17, 2007 - Took delivery on 6 cubic yards of compost.
Cleared out part of the south side. Afterwords
discovered that my second shovel had a crack. Went to Sego and bought
Tomatoes: 12 (6 cherries, 6 romas)
Cucumbers: 6 (a japanese green variety)
Butternut Squash: Seeds
White Corn: Seeds
Green Shizo: Seeds
Sego didn't have the guava's I had ordered. I ended up changing my order to pineapple guavas. They were also out of honeydew melon. Picked up some honeydew seeds at the local Do It Center.
I already had the lemon tree from father's day (June 2006).
Bought hoe and a Fiskars round shovel from Lowes.
March 11, 2007 - More South Side. The Fiskars shovel made a huge difference. Not only is it substantially stronger, but it is also much sharper, so the whole sod removal process takes much less energy. I wish I had gotten one of these to start with.
March 10, 2007 - Started on South Side. Took out some of the sod. When cleaning up I discovered that this shovel was cracking as well. Bought a Fiskars square shovel from at the local Lowe's.
March 3, 2007 - North Side
Complete. My back is feeling much better. Finished the north
half of the sod removal. Came up with the following list of plants I
want to have for the planting party:
Butternut Squash: 6
I went over to Sego to see what they expected to have available in two weeks. They thought it might be a bit early for the squash and melons, but the rest is fine. I actually ordered the guavas. I decided to go with two lemon guavas and two strawberry guavas. The fruits aren't as big and juicy as pineapple guavas, but the season is longer. I have been debating putting berries along the east side next to the sidewalk. They gave me a good deal on some blue berries, so I bought 4 of them (2 each of 2 different varieties). I'm planning on planting them in their containers since they are acid loving plants and I suspect my yard is alkaline.
February 18, 2007 - Finished the north side run. Katrina helped a bit at first. Later on Andrea and Ellery came outside so if felt a bit more like a family thing for a while. After the north side run was complete, I used sand left over from Katrina's sandbox to outline the north west circle and half the center circle. Used the square shovel to establish these lines and started digging out what was left of the north west circle. I pushed too hard today and strained my back.
February 17, 2007 - Worked a bit more on the north side run.
February 13, 2007 - Got up early and replanted the strawberries. Also took a couple of pictures.
February 12, 2007 - On the bus ride into work, I read a hand out about strawberries that the folks at Sego given me and realized that I had planted them too close together and not separated the roots enough. I couldn't do anything about it in the evening since it was dark when I got home. I did however finish creating the evite for the Spring Planting Party and send it out to the email address I had at hand.
February 11, 2007 - Found the centers of the circle from the plan adjusted the layout to match. Continued working on the north side run. Finished the ten foot strip goal I had set for myself the previous week. I told Katrina that we are going to plant guavas along the north side. We had shared a guava smoothie at a nearby bakery so she's been telling people that we're planting smoothies. Towards the end of the day I went to Sego Nursery to plan plant purchases for the planting party. I learned that if I want to plant fruit trees, raspberries or strawberries I do do it very soon (before the party). The fruit trees would have been a bit too much of an impluse buy and I'm not ready to plant them now so I think I'm going to wait on those until next year. I'd also like to get a fence in before I do raspberries and the folks at Sego also mentioned the possibility of mulberries trained to grow as shrubs. However, I have promised Katrina strawberries so I went ahead and bought a six pack of Sequoia and a five gallon pot of Sea Breeze. They had just planted the Sea Breeze so they were easy to split up into individual plants. I also bought 4 big bags of organic compost to mix into the soil for the strawberries.
February 3, 2007 - Created a more precise drawing of my planned layout. I had already staked out the five foot central circle and the general flow of path. I knew I wanted rounded corners leading into central circle, but it wasn't until I was creating the more precise drawing that I discovered that the north west and south west five foot circles fit perfectly into the design. Started working from the north east corner. Decided to do a six and a half foot rectangular strip. My goal for the day was ten foot strip. I ended up doing about half when my new shovel broken - not the handle, the actual metal part. I took it back to the hardware store and got a sturdier one. However, by then it was time to do family stuff so I didn't get any further.
January 27, 2007 - In the morning I did some garden working including pruning the apple tree we have in the backyard. When I got up front, I looked and the lawn and decided that I should really get to work on digging up the sod. The first little strip I did the same way I had dug up sod previously. In particular, I used a regular garden shovel to dig some up and then shook out as much dirt as I could. I realized that this was going to take a long time. I had read something about using a sod cutter somewhere on the web. I think it was in an article about LA Edible Estates garden. I figured it would be reasonable to rent something like that given how much sod I had to take up. The Food not Lawns books wasn't particularly helpful in this regard. It has a lot about the why to removing lawns, but not a lot about the how. So I started looking up stuff about sod cutters on the web. I found an interesting article on the HGTV website that discussed various approached for lawn removal. The author discussed and dismissed killing the lawn chemically (which I wouldn't have done anyway), sod cutters and a manual method using a sharpened square ended shovel. His conclusion was that while the sod cutter was faster, it was much less pleasant and much more stressful, so for moderate sized jobs like mine the square ended shovel technique was best. The idea behind this technique is to cut the general outline first, then cut under the sod and remove it in strips. It ends up removing more soil than the technique I was using, but it is much more efficient. I also discovered that if you roll the strips you can get a fair amount of the dirt off and still get the speed advantages and the neat strips for transport to the compost heap.
After I got back from the hardware store, I realized that I should really stake out the entire layout. I didn't have any extra stakes lying around in the garage and I didn't want to go back to the hardware store. I then realized that the sticks from the apple pruning could be cut up into very serviceable stakes. This worked great along with some string and twine I found around the house. It was nice to avoid an extra car trip and to use something that had grown on the property.