06 July 2008

Multitasking in the Backyard

The garden as we last saw it in April (above) after a "professional" hand-tilling.

Below: an "early" snapshot in June with a blanket of straw to keep down weeds and prevent water evaporation.

It's been a while since I've written about the progress of the garden this year. It is growing fast and furiously. We picked the first green bean the other day, and also snatched up two zucchini and one yellow squash. We already harvested the radishes, and also have carrots, beets, and tomatoes to look forward to. This year we also tried something new for the future: we planted raspberry canes in the "upper" part of our grassy strip (what's left of the back yard). The jury is still out on the raspberries, though. I'm optimistic because of the fact that they are weeds, after all, but so far they don't look like they have any life in them. Of the 9 canes that we ordered, only one has leaves growing on it, but they say it can take up to 8 weeks before you begin to see growth, so we've got a couple weeks to go, I suppose. We are also growing rosemary, basil, and mint in the front bed, along with the parsley from last year which has now gone to seed. I also planted a few flower seeds just for whimsy in the front and in a little spot in the back. Much to my delight, I also noticed two dill weeds in the back, which are volunteers from last year.

Above: making the most of nearly every square foot we have.

With all that is growing, what's left of the "back yard" is shrinking. It makes for less of a need to mow (which we don't do too often anyway), but now that we're also hanging our laundry to dry, it makes for precious few square feet on which to play in the grass. So we multi-task. When I'm not hanging laundry, we take the laundry line down and store it inside. We have a couple of chairs and a plastic kiddie pick-nick table that hang out there, and in the afternoon shade of our neighbor's storage shed, we have a little green patch in which to relax and pick clover leaves. Sometimes on hot days, we also bring out the hose and "swimming buckets:" two large multi-purpose tubs that we fill with water and splash in. I've found that even on the hottest and most humid days, I can feel quite refreshed with my feet in the bucket and a hose to mist myself or spray the kids. While my husband would just as soon make the entire back area a garden in which to grow baskets and bushels full of food, I on the other hand am reluctant to give up that little patch of grass so easily. I guess we'll have to see in the future what best will suit our needs.

Rub-a-dub-dub, three kids in a tub, keeping cool in our swimming bucket.
(No signs of success with the raspberry plants behind us.)

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