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Spring Planting

by schmidt on April 28, 2011 · 1 comment

in Sustainable Living

010Well, with spring having arrived it is time to amend our dirt and get to our summer planting.  I did not, under any circumstances, think gardening was at all cool or interesting growing up.  It always seemed the realm of gray haired old people – or at least people who should be old and have gray hair.  Now that I am old and cannot pluck out all my gray hair anymore, gardening seems to make more sense.  Not sure if that is a good thing, but anyways…

As a parent I appreciate what our garden teaches our girls.  They complain about watering of course, and run hot and cold on the whole pulling weeds thing, but they have a good time digging up potatoes and pulling up carrots.  And there is no shriek like that that comes from finding a steamed caterpillar in the broccoli we harvested for dinner.  Damn things are a perfect broccoli shade of green, no matter how carefully I look for them one always seems to slip by.

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Adventures in Landscaping

by schmidt on September 15, 2009 · 0 comments

in Water & Water Conservation

When I was remodeling my home I was confronted with something I knew very little about – landscaping.  I knew what I did not want, which is as good a place as any to start.  No grass monoculture.  I am not against lawns mind you.  There is just too much of a downside to all that green.  It takes a bit more than a half gallon of water to cover each square foot with an inch of water; and an inch of water per week is the generally accepted standard for lawn irrigation.  Not to bad – til you do the math.  I had a tiny postage stamp in front of my old house, two 6 X 12 foot sections of grass – and they needed more than 70 gallons a week to stay green, more than 3,600 gallons a year.  I switched to ornamental grass and Mexican beach stones in my new home, and I haven’t watered them for 3 months.  Even a modest sized lawn of your typical suburban home can hit over 1,000 square feet, and that adds up to 500+ gallons a week.

The backyard was a more complicated challenge.  I went so far as to call a few landscape “Architects” to come and give a bid.  I thought they were like regular contractors, they would look at the project, let me know what they could do and tell me how much.  Silly me.  First think I learned about landscape “Architects” was that they charge $100.00 bucks just to show up.  Now I am not a complete moron, I did chuckle at the first guy who told me that.  But after calling 4 or 5 more, I realized they all wanted 100 bucks to show up.  I figured the joke must be on me, so I got the checkbook out and made 2 appointments with 2 landscape “Architects”.  After shelling out $200.00 and getting price quoted twice  I realized I was right, the joke was on me.  The landscape “Architects” both agreed that $75,000 or so would be needed to change this:

9-8-09 Landscpae Blog Post 1

into something more interesting.  Unless they planned on making it into a pot plantation, 75k was just not going to happen.


So what to do.

It’s not that I am lazy, I am just, well, lazy.  And I do not know much about landscaping – I may have said that somewhere.  So clearly I need help, professional help.  At least that’s what my wife says.  So I think, on her recommendation, I am going to start taking 500 milligrams of Welbutrin twice daily.  And use MyFarm to make something useful as well as practical.

MyFarm are basically folks who set up gardens in your backyard.  I have always wanted to garden, and the idea of calling it an Urban Farm sounds far to chic and forward thinking to pass up.  I hope to make this an ongoing feature on the blog here, document the weed pulling, dirt sifting, and bug shooing that I figure is involved in making some food out back.  Another thing to figure out will be how much of a carbon offset this whole thing will be – carbon reduction is well and good, but increasing carbon absorption and O2 output with a more robust backyard has got to count for something.