Some of you may remember that last year, our backyard garden ended up looking more or less like this:
Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice garden, but the yield was rather less than one might hope, especially when one has a family of vegetable lovers who’d quite happily eat nothing but garden-fresh produce all summer. So this year, the goal was to expand the garden.
Maura went up to my mom’s over the weekend, and Nick and I connected with some friends who were willing to give up their Saturday afternoon to help us make our garden more impressive. So Rachel and Andrew came over, and Andrew brought his rototiller. (And that, guys, is some serious friendship–it’s super heavy, and sort of a bitch to move around, and not only did he bring it over, but he also did the vast majority of the actual tilling.)
When we went outside, the yard looked like this:
In addition to still having only a tiny garden, we also have some enormous tree limbs that cast much of the yard in shade, leaves everywhere, and a ton of pollen.
Halfway through, we’d gotten to here:
That’s a shovel handle that’s sticking straight up in the right of the picture. I was so preoccupied at the time that I didn’t even notice it was there until I went to resize the photo. You’ll notice that several tree branches are missing, and that Andrew has heroically tilled a substantial portion of the backyard.
Finally, we had this:
More branches down, the first garden tilled, and second plot created. It’s a bit hard to tell, but in our L-shaped yard, the garden is now almost the size of the vertical line. I managed to do the last pass with the rototiller on the larger plot, and then did the first two passes on the smaller plot. Then I couldn’t turn it fast enough and sort of lost control a little bit, and maybe it sort of ran over some of our woodpile, so Andrew did the last two passes. But still, I worked the rototiller! (And I have bruises to prove it–ow.)
The horizontal line of the L now has a grapevine, and another one will be put in…well, as soon as I get back outside. They won’t fruit this year, but it’s nice to have them.
In addition to all of this, Nick and Rachel cleaned out a huge chunk of the back hill–our yard goes up at the back, and the people who were here before us mostly used it as a dumping ground, so far as we can tell. Scrub, chunks of concrete, plastic… So they cleaned out a ton of that, and Nick burnt a ton of yard waste, also at great personal cost–he has a three-inch-long burn on his arm, and is missing arm hair in several more places. I’m told that the soles of his shoes are also scorched from stomping out bits that got blown out of the pit.
The backyard looks fantastic.
Sunday, we slept until past noon, recovering.
The seedlings that we planted a week or two back are doing really well, despite the fact that one of the cats just doesn’t seem to be able to keep his fat ass off of them. Several types of tomatoes have popped up, as has the fennel, lima beans, and spaghetti squash. I’m so excited! Hopefully we’ll be able to start getting some of the more cold-tolerant plants out there this week.
Also, for those of you who’ve asked, yes, I made mozzarella cheese and it was delicious. Post coming soon about that–the holdup is mostly that there are ten million pictures, and it takes a while to get them all resized and color corrected and posted.