Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yard Round-up

I got some yardwork done this week, finally. The new place is shaping up nicely.

The first thing I did was create a compost heap. I didn't ask my landlady about this, but the nice thing about a composter is that it can always be removed later with little to no impact on the yard. Of course, my ideal would be that it stay after I leave, with the next resident continuing to compost. Then again, right now I don't ever want to move again, so that might not come to pass.

I got the composter--basically a roll of chicken wire-type stuff--from the Alachua County Waste Management office:

They don't advertise it, but they give these things away for free. I only called them because I knew that many cities have similar programs. They also give away free air-tight compost buckets for the kitchen, and they sell these other compost bins for $30. I'm on the waiting list for one of those, but I don't know if I'll get one when they come in. I don't use my compost for garden fertilizer, so I don't really need a high-tech system. It's just a way for me to reduce waste, and sometimes get free plants.

It's lined with cardboard to keep heat and moisture in, and to reduce the chance that raccoons will get into it when I forget to stir it up. (Properly maintained compost should not stink or attract pests.) I know it looks ugly, so I planted my new passion flower and a native honeysuckle vine up against it. The hope is that the compost will feed the plants and they'll vine up all prettily onto the wire, thus concealing the cardboard from sight.

There are admittedly some flaws in this plan, however: 1) I may have waited too long to transplant the honeysuckle from the pot where I placed it this spring--and it's not looking so hot right now--and 2) passion flower dies back in the winter. Well, call it an experiment.

Yesterday my duplex-mate and I built a massive fire pit:

The thing is about four feet across and represents some serious sweat equity on both of our parts (my back is killing me today). Don't ask me where my neighbor got the cement, because it may be borderline misdemeanor-y. We created a pile of dirt that was mind-boggling. Our lot seems to stretch back another half-acre or so. There's grass, and then there's a line at which a weedy, forested wilderness begins. So we threw the dirt back there.

I don't know about anywhere else, but in Gainesville, people go nuts for backyard fires in the fall. So that's pretty exciting.

We also scavenged some wood:

This morning I took some photos of some other aspects of my landscape. Here is my sad little collection of vegetables (and strawberries):

You can see I have a bowl of seed packets there waiting, nay, begging, to be planted. It's been a busy fall, so I'm trying to give myself a break and not get too upset about being a lame-o slacker veggie gardener this season. There's always spring, summer, and next fall to grow vegetables.

I'm still trying to figure out what the light's like in my yard. The recent time change didn't help my observations. So right now I have most of my plants edging my driveway:

I try to look at them every day to see if any look like they're suffering from too much exposure to sun. I have a few more lining the pathway to the back door:

I also placed a few plants on my old rickety plant stand under the magnolia tree:

Those are the shadelovers, and I'm banking that that area is pretty shady. But it's hard to tell. (When did I get so many plants?)

The only other thing I'd like to point out about my landscape is these horrid shrubs that edge the back and sides of the house. I really, really, really don't like these plants. I think they're ugly and they make getting to the hose annoying. (I have to say that I'm not a shrub person in general.) I'm going to ask my landlady if I can rip these particular ones out and make a flower bed. I've actually never had a flower bed before, so I'm kind of excited about the possibilities. (It would help if I knew how much light that area gets.)

That's about all that's going on in the landscape right now. Oh, wait--I did plant those winter annuals (dianthus, snapdragon, pansy, etc.), but forgot to take photos of the pots.

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