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We spent all of last weekend getting the yard put back in order.  The previous owners weren’t much in the way of landscapers…  I wish I could say this left us with a blank canvas to start with, but we are trying to get back to that point as of yet.

We have dead grass where we want live grass and overgrown grass where it shouldn’t be.  We reseeded the dead spots and began tearing out the beds in the front and back of the house to get ready for some new landscaping.

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We headed to a local nursery to pick out plants to put in, and after speaking to a couple of the employees there, realized we have some major work ahead of us before we start planting… Think lots and lots of tilling and a few bags of compost, followed by new weed paper and mulch.  For the very first (and possibly only) time, I miss Ohio and its rolling green hills, shade and ample precipitation.

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Nathan spent all of Saturday edging along the driveway and sidewalks (with an honest-to-god machete – who is this man??) while I dug up rocks in the front yard.  I’m sorry, but I’m from the Midwest; we do mulch.  The climate is pretty arid here in Colorado and lotsa folks cover their entire yards with rocks – sometimes NOTHING else, and while that is kosher for some, we like GREEN.

I figured I would have the beds in the front yard done in an hour, but they were terribly overgrown and so thick with years and years of grass that the plants actually started to pulverize the rocks…  Nature is crazy, yo.

My efforts brought on The Great Roly-Poly Massacre of 2013; they are bugs that I actually like, and I didn’t mean to, but Saturday and Sunday might go down in the pillbug history books as a massive ethnic cleansing.  I also managed to stir up a nest of absolutely icky centipedes which delighted Finny to no end.

tuck and roll

After two or three hours of trying to spare every roly-poly possible while picking apart rock from grass from dirt, I finally had about six feet of the first bed done.  It was a teensty bit disheartening.  It was nice to sit in the front yard and have something to stare at besides the beauteous teal shutters and front door, though.  Oh, and that gorgeous raspberry-colored storm door, umm-umm!  Brass fixtures – for the win!!

We have decided to try our hands at Square Foot Gardening (SFG); the book we scored touts higher yields in super small space, and although we have the room to put in a  hefty garden, we are a bit leery of forking over ass-loads of cash to amend the soil.  We have straight sand out in this area, and soil only needs to be six inches thick for SFG.  That amounts to eight cubic feet of a vermiculite-compost-peet mixture for a 4×4 plot, and including all the materials to build the bed (a pair of two-by-sixes and some weed paper), the whole bed set us back less than forty smackers.

We are also putting in two other beds, a small 3×1 bed for just tomatoes and a 2×6 bed (half of which will be a strawberry patch).  We need to hit up Home Depot for more dirt – and another pair of boards to build the last bed.

Here is what the backyard looked like a few days ago…

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And here is our progress so far…

Progress...  PROGRESS!

Progress… PROGRESS!  I wish it looked like we spent eight hours on this.

We are in the process of moving the rocks from the front yard around the raised beds.  I realize this isn’t an ideal surface to kneel on when working in the garden, but we’re all about working with what you have and not spending a dime if you don’t need to.

The rest of the yard is still a spectacular disaster, though.  Sigh.

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Yesterday I started yet another round of seeds.  I am an utter failure; the plants I started a few months ago have all perished – slow and miserably, I might add – and we have to start anew.

Nathan downloaded the world’s most advanced (so I’m assuming) garden planning app, and now we’re working on what to plant in our little SFG beds.

We have about two weeks to get everything in the ground and rolling.  And about three months after that to try to keep it alive…  If we are lucky.