Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas--Yard Work Style

If I write this properly, it could possibly be sung to the tune of "Twelve Days of Christmas"

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
1 load of pea gravel,
a 55 gallon barrel of manure,
a years worth of compost,
four bales of hay,
5 pickup truck-loads of mulch,

12 nasty gruuuubbbs

okay, so I got bored with this somewhere in the middle of my song.

Very nice December weather has been upon us (after our hard freezes in the first week of December) and we have made the most of it. On Dec 19-20th we were able to get 5 truckloads of mulch from a friend who had a landscapers dump truck pour a full load of mulch in their driveway. The mulch is great, mostly palm sized or smaller pieces with lots of leaves (live oak and cedar) and only a few large branch sections.

Load 1 went to the new buddliea bed in the back yard as well as along the front edge of the garden. Load 2 went to the new flower beds in the front yard, load 3 went to the garden, loads 4 and 5 mostly went to the crepe myrtle bed--which is really just an annoying section of mostly bare dirt next to our driveway. My hope is to reclaim the mulch from there to build my path in the garden after it is tilled. I am very excited to get so much free mulch. Generally, a truck load of mulch seems like a boon to me but now I have 5 loads to play with, wonderful!

I also cleaned out the fall garden. All but the artichoke and collard greens has frozen to the ground and was ripped out. We emptied a 55 gallon drum of horse and chicken manure (hauled in from my in-laws farm) across the garden. We also dumped the compost bin.

The compost did great this year. The bottom 1/2 of the bin was dark, rich, beautiful compost. The top half still had some clearly identifiable food stuff in it. I made an effort to turn the compost this year, at least for the first part of the year, and I think that made a big difference. One big mistake I made was to put whole eggs in the compost without breaking them first. I hit one with my shovel when spreading the manure and I had to leave the garden for a few minutes. Generally, I'm a pretty tough person smell-wise. I can handle dog, cat, child, poop or vomit without batting an eye (gee, the things moms brag about!) but this rotten egg was horrible. Next time I'll know better. I also found that my hubby's habit of stacking cracked egg shells into one another keeps them from breaking down. Really, egg shells were pretty much the only identifiable portion of the finished compost. Quite a success.

The load of pea gravel is for a surprise Christmas gift for the kids. But, we only needed 1/3 of a cubic yard, but the rock yard wanted me to pay for a full yard... so I told them to just load it all up, if they were going to make me pay for it. So the pea gravel is also going to line our utility area behind the garage. This is where the bees live, and also a real junk collecting place for all of the random outdoor bits that don't belong in the garage.

So there we go, the 12 days of Christmas, garden style (my favorite). On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love is going to be tilling the garden... he just does not know it yet!

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