Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Techniques, New Fence

I am very, very excited that I will be able to extend my gardening tasks well into wintertime this year, now that I have found out about winter sowing. (The link will take to you the definitive website on the subject.)

I like that it combines gardening and recycling and pennypinching all at once. In a nutshell, you plant a whole bunch of seeds (which are of course much cheaper than buying young plants) and plant them in any number of a variety of small, reusable containers—like two-liter bottles, plastic food containers, or whatever else you can come up with (see the site for a list of suggestions). Then, you set them outside just around or after the holiday season and let the elements do their thing. Holes punched in the tops and bottoms of the containers provide aspiration and drainage. Snow will act as an insulator and also provide moisture; mother nature does the rest.

Come spring, they say you will have more plants than you'll know what to do with, at little to no cost! I like it. No, I LOVE it and cannot wait to try it for myself.

Again, the website I linked to will provide you with full instructions and tips about everything from how to get started to what types of plants are best for this growing method. You can grow flowers and vegetables in this way!


I am also very much looking forward to planning and preparing new beds for next year using what I think is called the "lasagna" method, involving cardboard and newspapers, and lots of patience. Along with this, I plan to start my own compost and discovered some clever ways to do this even with my small outdoor space.

In other news, while we really, really dislike our next door neighbors, I think relations will improve (i.e. we'll all just totally ignore each other assuming that they keep the noise level down) since they replaced the fence that bordered our tiny properties. The fence style wouldn't have been our choice (it's white vinyl), but it is six feet tall and I must say does really make things look much neater on our side. I told C. there's nothing there a couple of well-chosen tall bushes couldn't fix to subdue the bright white a bit. At least we've got the flowering quince, the lilac, and the rose of Sharon in place; we just need another one or two to fill the rest in. There's no doubt in my mind—good fences do make good neighbors indeed. It's been much more enjoyable to be in our back yard now that we don't have a semi-view of their dirt floor and weed-filled one.

A major beef I have now is that they were very inconsiderate while installing the fence. Not only did they trample onto our property, which we told them not to do after a particularly heated exchange, they dislodged and apparently discarded the one Queen of the Prairie I had planted near the tomatoes, as well as a small rose of Sharon. The latter I can live with, as we have an abundance of volunteers, but it really rankled me about the QotP. I had two plants, and the one that was pulled up was doing very well. The other one, which I had put in the front garden, hasn't been doing so hot (probably because it's not getting enough water, oops!). So the one in the back was special. I had grown it to about five feet tall from a six inch plant.

The worst part is that they never said a word to us about it, no apology or anything. Just, "Oh, we'll trample all over your stuff and you just have to deal with it." Nice.

(And in case you're wondering why we didn't say anything, I will just tell you that we decided it is not worth it in the big scheme of things that we've dealt with these neighbors. We had a big noise problem with them that seems to have been abated and now that the fence is done, we just don't want to deal with them, period.)

But seriously. What is wrong with people??? How can you just pull up a five foot tall plant and not think that you should apologize?

Neighbors really are the biggest pests of all. Or, at least they CAN be. Fortunately, every other one of our neighbors are great.

I think I am done ranting now.

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