Thursday, January 12, 2017

It's snowing and 20F yet I'm planning my gardens for later this year.  Spring comes in late March in my area (zone 5a/b) which means I need to start seeds soon.  This will be our third year in this home and each year, we've dug up more grass and added more plants and trees.

When we bought our home-our fourth-in the spring of 2014, the only thing growing in our yard was grass that had endured years of herbicidal treatments.  Growing grass just to cut it with a lawnmower seems like a ridiculous waste of my time and our resources.  So I have slowly been getting rid of it.

I ordered two more apple trees-bare root- for our backyard.  We have a city lot that is maybe a 12th-15th of an acre.  It's a decent size for the neighborhood, but it does take more planning for tree placement than our larger suburban yards ever did.  The two new apple trees will make for a total of four apple trees in the backyard.  Last year, I planted 2 apple trees in our front yard.  One is underneath the neighbor's aging silver maple.  Planting a tree there was optimistic as his maple drops a lot of long skinny branches and does need to come down (hopefully not on my house).

I also planted a sour cherry tree near our property line next to the rental on the south side of the yard. I really like the people who live in the triplex next door, but it is a rental and who knows what type of neighbors we will have in a year or five years.  So the tree and the large trellis will do a good job of screening and giving everyone some privacy, while looking beautiful and giving us food.

We built two more large trellises on the north side of our yard to give us a bit more privacy as well and I transplanted some blackberries that will hopefully climb them.  We have a chain link fence along the property in the backyard but that is see-through and I really want a less open and more private backyard.  As the trees and shrubs grow in the next few years, I know it will look fantastic.

I'm planning to build two raised beds in front of the two trellises on the north side that will this year house my tomatoes.  Last summer I grew 16 plants on the south side of my garage and need a new spot for them this year.  I probably won't be able to fit 16 plants in them, but crop rotation is important.  Green beans will get planted in the former tomato bed.

My seeds for tomatoes and peppers are on their way and I'll start those at the end of February.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wooden Plank Subfloor

The second floor of our home is a large converted attic that we use as the master bedroom.  I'm fairly certain the carpet is from 1984.  It is disgusting, old, and stained.  I have seasonal allergies and after 2 years of dealing with whatever nasties live in that carpet, we are going to rip it up.

I pulled up a corner to see what was underneath 30 years of grit.  Turns out there were many layers of crap: carpet, padding, more padding, tile, underlayment, and wooden plank flooring that appears to be unfinished. 

We had planned on installing real wood ourselves, but this was a good find.  It will be a lot of work, but my labor is free. 

We have lucked out with our house-wood floors under all the carpet and decent bones in the house.  The yard has 6-10 inches of topsoil.  We had the unexpected expense of removing 2 storm damaged 70 foot tall silver maples this summer (thousands of dollars, and a crane and no, insurance does not cover that).  However, now I've got a sunny, no longer shady, backyard which translates into a larger vegetable garden for the next year.