I had Compacty weekend, but I had it all on Sunday since I spent Saturday with my dear funny friend Lisa M and my parents.
We shoveled mulch and wheelbarrowed it around, and got through about half the giant pile. This was free mulch from when our neighbors shredded all their trees a few weeks ago. Free, delivered to our side yard, and it smells good. My favorite things! We definitely miss the trees, as it’s much brighter, louder and exposed than it used to be here, facing the Estuary. Free mulch = very good.
We weeded a lot and added dirt from recently delivered batch, and got a number of seeds planted in 4-inch pots that I owned already (a good job for the Boy– got him to fill them with dirt, poke holes, plant seeds, and label each with a Sharpie). He also planted a fence plot for beans — twice the amount of beans we had last year, and they won’t pull down the trellis or corn or anything growing nearby, since they can grow up the fence. He planted yellow wax beans and green beans mixed together. Just because. Made it exciting for an 11 yr old. He’ll have some ownership about the veggies since he planted them.
We moved a bunch of the raised beds around for better sunlight and put a nice layer of our own compost in, on top of dead leaves that mulched for the winter, then more new dirt on top. Last year’s dirt had compacted down to about 4 inches deep, so we’re back at 1 foot or deeper in the various beds. It was a dirty, dirty job. Very. There are lots of new wriggling worms that came in with the fresh compost. Wormy!
The cats, however, think this is the grooviest thing since Meow Mix. Thus, I have laid an assortment of screens, tomato cages and other odds and ends around the backyard, junkyard fashion, to keep cats out of the fresh clean dirt. They are plotting something, and I think I know what. Fresh dirt = too good not to poop in.
I had to harvest all our mustard greens, broccoli and lettuce to make way for the new dirt, so we have an abundance of all just now. I’ve gifted several friends with greens, we’re eating the rest; it was nice not to have to buy lettuce this week. My basil sprouted, in the pot in the sunny patio area. I’m feeling even more hopeful, as I’ve never gotten basil to even sprout before.
Mr. Husband, while driving around the Island, found a stack of green plastic garden chairs and a bunch of tiki lights. FREE.
I got my first mild sunburn, despite protection, big hat, etc. I know some of y’all have snow and rain. I’m wishing you warm thoughts and sprouting seedlings and gentle rains instead of Nor’easters.
Happy Baseball Season opener last night; our team, Oakland A’s, did not win, but oh well. Mr. Husband is very very very happy to see baseball on TV again. And baseball stadium dinner (hot dogs, nachos, Cracker Jack, sodas and beer, Drumstix, peanuts, popcorn) were de-lish.
Planned for the garden (planted in 4-inch pots):
pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, butternut squash, acorn squash, yellow longneck squash, loofah gourds, birdhouse gourds, red tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, French breakfast radishes, cilantro, feverfew, several types of peppers, and I think that’s it. Plus the beans along the fence.
We have five fruit trees now: orange, lemon, lime, plum and apricot. Two grapevines leafing out. Two raspberry bushes and a blueberry bush, just planted. A strawberry patch. Four artichokes plants. Sunflowers and hollyhocks mixed in with the strawberries. Carrots, chard and arugula still growing. Peas maybe coming up but they are very slow and stubborn. An onion patch, with garlic nearby. Mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm and parsley.
There are wild blackberries out here on the base, and in the Beltline (old railroad tracks). My neighbors have an apple tree. If we get the chickens, we should be just about set. As in, semi-sustainable for feeding the crew.
I like it.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.