Archives For In the Garden

Last week in pictures

June 27, 2011 — 2 Comments

My coworkers creating a website…

A date night trip to the iSold it on eBay store! Yes, a physical store where you can’t actually buy anything…

A date night trip to the very first shopping mall – sadly more than 1/3 empty. Surreal…

More after the jump!

Continue Reading…


Our yard in historic downtown Chaska is blessed with an abundant assortment of lilac trees and rows of garden phlox. The former required some extreme trimming due to their height hitting our power lines, so I went lumberjack on them in late October. The latter produces a significant amount of dead waste each fall, and I’m doing my best to kill it off one last time this year.

I spent about three hours this weekend removing those clippings that have just sat around the yard since just before the snow hit for the winter. I felt just like G.W. Bush famously clearing brush around the ranch. It’s always good to have a project with a tangible start and finish.

The result is 216 cubic feet of sticks sitting in my alleyway. Way too much to burn in our little firepit, too awkward to cut into three foot segments for yard waste removal, and the sticks are not enough substance to merit a Craigstlist ad for free firewood.

I may ask a friend if I can borrow his truck and take it to the Carver County Environmental Center. Bummer it’s going to be about $65 bucks to get rid of, though. It makes me wish I had some land outside of town. This stuff would burn in less than 30 minutes.

UPDATE: I put it on Craiglist. Ha. Let’s see if someone takes it.

I added up the cubic feet needed do to our yard — and this will cover almost the first third!

Do they sell stock in mulch?

Strawberry Harvest

June 18, 2009 — Leave a comment


I wish my wife and son ate strawberries, because I’m harvesting strawberries from our backyard nearly every single night. I guess that’s more for me.



They are way sweeter than you get at the store — probably because they aren’t doused with chemicals and transported thousands of miles.

It’s the little things, you know…

Compost = tackled

June 18, 2009 — 1 Comment

Oh thank God: the compost monster at my house has been slain.


Well…damn. I guess I forgot to take a good after picture. You can tell it’s not there in the top right corner of this photo.
Food box

I got it all churned up and distributed into my two compost bins (see previous post), pouring some nasty expired beer throughout every other layer to get things cooking.

Of course, I waited until it was 90 degrees and 60 percent humidity, but this is why some genius invented ice cold lemonade. I drank a lot of lemonade today.

Something I’m trying not to think about: I have no idea what I’m going to do with 100 lbs of compost.

Our home’s previous owners were crazy about their garden, and as such, had a serious compost pile between the garage and a lattice fence. And after I piled on all the dead trimmings last fall, the pile itself was larger than our minivan.

I’m serious. You have no idea how stressful it is to walk up to a pile of brush, leaves, grass clippings and random organics that is taller than you and longer than a shark. I had no idea where to start on this beast.

Over Memorial Day weekend, with help from Chad, I burned more than half of it during our evening bonfire. That left all the musty compost remanants from the previous owners, including the dumpings from their charcoal grill, an old sink and random rocks and logs.

Today I spent the better part of three hours wielding a pitchfork and wheel barrow to get it all cleaned up from the compost area and moved to a tarp I set up by our flower boxes.



Under the rotting grass clippings and leaves I was surprised to find a large amount of clean soil compost ready to go. Probably enough to fill a deep freezer, actually. With the organic material all moved away, I was able to rake and shovel the dirt into it’s own pile and get our compost bins set up behind the lattice fence.

Here are the final results:

Compost bins and soil

Compost bins and soil

Grape vine and compost wall

Later this week I’m going to run all the compost through a large shredder/chipper and fill the bins up. I plan to use the beer composting method.

When this is all turned into soil, in addition the compost soil already ready to go, we’re going to have an intense amount of compost.

Our plants might as well be on steroids. I can’t wait.

And a quick update on the lettuce, zucchini, squash and roma tomatoes…

May 18
Lettuce, Zucchini, Squash, Tomatoes

May 30
Lettuce, zucchini, roma tomatoes, squash

The chives are out of control, so I’m keeping them fairly short to keep them from seeding. Also, the mystery herb is growing very fast. Leaves look like spearmint, but they are not minty at all.
Chives and mystery herbs

The cilantro and basil plants are doing well, plus the seeds I planted above them are coming in. I also planted some spearmint, but it’s not very happy.
Basil and cilantro

The strawberries are budding little strawberries, but I forgot to get a picture. Here’s a show from a week and a half ago. My neighbor gave me a hay bale to help keep the berries off the ground.
Strawberries with hay

Meanwhile, there’s a compost party at my house every night after work. You’re invited. Bring a shovel.

Them peppers is spicy

October 30, 2008 — Leave a comment

We had a hot pepper tasting at work today thanks to my colleague Erik, who grows them in his basement.

This is Erik. You’ll note he wears gloves to chop up the peppers — yet then you put them in your mouth!

Erik grows Dorset Nagas, the hottest peppers in the world.

He also brought milk. And bread. And tears.