filling the gap

So when Evan and I decided to start a garden in our rental crap-yard, I tried to find advice on Durham-specific gardens. You know, for seasonal planting, types of crops, where to get cool dirt, where to find very special organic heirloom tomato seedlings. I figured, well, almost every Durhamite I know has a blog, and I walk by fantastic looking vegetable gardens every day, so there MUST be LOADS of information on the topic on the internet.

As it turns out, this is false.

However, there is a blog about every. single. remodeled. home. in Cleveland-Holloway. Just check out one blog, and they all have everybody else’s blog up on their links. Like this one. I am unsure if the reason for this is because the foreclosure people have a prerequisite that anyone purchasing a foreclosed or crap-home and plans to flip it must have a penchant for blogging, or if the flippers think that by showing us how they tore down and completely rebuilt a new home in the old home’s place, that they will increase their flipped homes’ value. I mean, they are big beautiful homes, but they are in the middle of the ghetto. Well, as ghetto as Durham can get. [All negativity aside, I actually love what those people are doing down in Cleveland Holloway, and for Durham in general, but those people have bigger investment balls than me.]

Anyway, I figured if those people can write a blog about remodeling their homes, I can create a record of my new beautiful garden!

So let’s start at the beginning.

We didn’t have much to work with. Don’t get me wrong, we have FANTASTIC landlords, I mean super great landlords, but they are kind of weird about their yard. Their general opinion on what makes a great yard? Don’t. Plant. Anything. Or cut anything down. Last year, we had these crazy prickly weed things growing in the patch of lawn between the sidewalk and the road, and they grew to be like ten feet high. I’m talking like, 60 square feet of this crap (three feet wide, probably twenty feet down the sidewalk). One day, our neighbor came over and said something to us about how unsightly they were, and how usually the trucks parked in front of the weeds covered the sight from her house, but lately they’d been growing taller than the trucks and it was really ugly. Thus, I felt really ashamed and went out to try and pull some of those fuckers out of the ground. No dice. Those things werent moving. I had blisters for weeks and didn’t successfully pull a single pos weed thing out of the ground. Well, i am pretty sure my neighbor was watching secretly from her living room window, because the next weekend, all of the weeds were mysteriously gone, and a scorched earth was left behind. Yeah. She must have used some super powerful weed-murdering TOTALLY INORGANIC, HOME-DEPOT CRAP to murder our sidewalk weeds. Well. Anyway.

So yeah, our landlords don’t really do anything for the yard, and we were expressly forbidden from digging into the yard. That kinda sucked, because we have a huge yard. However, as you can see from the photos below (and the picture of the sun-baked poop, yes that is my dog’s poop, and yes, it has probably been there for months), the yard is obviously not suited for growing anything, except mold. And by mold I mean moss. For a while i thought they were the same thing (HELLO, SAME FIRST TWO LETTERS), but then wikipedia proved me wrong. Still, I prefer thinking of the moss as mold. Its much more fitting with our crap yard title.

theres my puppy in the background!!

dirt pile and desert landscape


Napoleon is about one foot tall, from head to toe.

All right, and there was no way we were going to till up the yard and plant seeds in the ground, because then Napoleon would FOR SURE pee and poo on everything, not to mention all of the other neighbor’s dogs who think they don’t have to pick up their dog’s poo in our yard (They are correct in this assumption, unless their dog is huge and shits out poos that are as big as Napoleon). So we said, lets put our garden in a box, and if Napoleon tries to get in, we’ll shock him with our little zapper. And YES you anti-cruelty PETA-loving animal defenders, our dog has a shock collar. He hasn’t been shocked though, since Evan accidentally sat down on the shock remote and zapped Napoleon on level 10 whilst SIMULTANEOUSLY ripping down the blinds and knocking poor poley bear across the face with the curtain rod. This little incident was extremely traumatizing for man and beast alike, and it took days, if not weeks, to full recover from the incident for all participants. But, we’ve really pavlov-dogged Napoleon to shiver whenever he hears the beep, so no need for electrocution anymore! Is Poley attacking the timid 10 foot tall Great Dane taking a walk on our sidewalk? BEEEEEP! No more attack! Is he running out into oncoming traffic? Beeeeeep!!! Dog returns, dog is safe. Is he going out late at night, smoking heaps of kind bud, and returning home only to raid our refrigerator and eat the $20 worth of ribeye from Whole Foods? BEEEEP, eat your dog food, bitch!

Dog cruelty aside, turns out raised bed gardens have all kinds of fantastic benefits, like it stays warmer longer in the fall, you can put cardboard underneath to prevent any weeds from coming up, you can get dirt delivered (YESSIRREE BOB THAT IS CORRECT! DIRT DELIVERY!) instead of using the in-ground clay nastiness that North Carolina gives you and wrestling fertilizer and compost into the ground to get your veggies to grow. And it has the added benefit of allowing Evan to feel manly by joining pieces of wood together. Unfortunately, he did this last week, so there are no pictures of his bulging muscles or his manly drilling, nor of his manly trip to Home Depot, or his manly conversations with the manly lumber men. This is unfortunate for you, if you are a straight female or a gay man. Evan is quite sexy when doing home projects.

All i have are the fruits of his labor. He got these boards, six feet long, two inches wide, eight inches? ten inches? tall, nailed them together using help from GardenGirl on youtube, and VOILA. WE HAVE LIFTOFF!!!

I know what you're thinking: Hot Damn, that raised bed garden is SEXY

Okay, so you want the dirt on the story? Where does one get dirt? Buying dirt in bags is weird. It is weird that someones job is to put dirt in bags. It is even weirder that bags of dirt are like, $15. wtf. But apparently, dirt is extremely important to your garden. Ideally, you want 1/3 cow poop (DO NOT DO THIS YOURSELF. The cow poop must be baked and aged properly. Its sort of the equivalent of trying to ferment grapes on your own. Don’t do it.), 1/3 compost, and 1/3 something else. Vermillion or something else that ends in ilion. Whatever. i don’t remember. Probably also you don’t want to refer to the cow-poo portion as cow poop; the preferred nomenclature is actually manure. Regardless, the Rock Shop on Hillsborough sells some sweet dirt. And they deliver. And trust me, do not over order like Evan did. I leveled out half of the garden to plant some radishes yesterday, and we have way too much dirt. And, since shoveling is not my forte, and I had no idea where to put the valuable, unused dirt, i just heaped it onto the other side of the garden. It looks silly. The fire hydrant kind of diminishes the effect, but what could i do? i’m no fire-hydrant mover. Or photoshopper.

a lot of extra dirt is inside those beautiful artisan pots you see there

God forbid (or Spaghetti monster forbid, whatever way you swing) that you have a lopsided garden. So order the correct amount of dirt.

Where to get seeds? Barnes has lots of options, but then, so does Food Lion. Both the same price, but if you bring your dog to Barnes, the hunky male employees will coo over your dog and give him lots of free treats, thus eliminating the need to feed your dog dinner. (Just kidding. well, they do give your dog lots of treats. But you should remember to feed your dog dinner)

okaaayyyy have to go pick up Evan from the airport!


One thought on “filling the gap

  1. Pingback: The Week in Pictures: a smattering of topics « Mmmm, TASTY

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