The entire family spent 5 hours in the backyard today working. MacTroll scooped dog poop. I weeded the sandbox and then X-man helped me weed all of our box gardens while MacTroll ran to Wally Mart to pick up 20 bags of sandbox sand. Then while he filled up the sandbox, I ran to Wally Mart to find out they weren't selling mushroom compost this year. I LOVE mushroom compost, but not enough to drive somewhere else to get it. So, I picked up some Organic Garden Soil with some moss mixed in. We only needed 10 bags of that to fill in the gardens (a lot of sand and dirt blows off during the winter). X-man helped me spread the soil and then he helped me plant tomatoes, peppers and herbs all over the place.
When the planting was done he got to take care of his favorite part -- "The Hose." So, while he watered, I went around looking at the perennials. Turns out some of the strawberries that I got from Me and My Boys last fall actually took, but not where I was expecting. I have some tiny breed of strawberries that are "non-runners" in a little garden behind our hot tub. I put about 12 of Me and My Boys' transplants there -- and only three took. I thought because the other strawberries were thriving there that they'd do okay, but clearly I was wrong.
But then I put six of her transplants in the front "whale-shaped" garden and five of them took there, which is awesome, because I've had a dickens of a time getting anything to grow up there that's not sedum. My hope is that as the years go by, her strawberries will run and take over the whole garden. Because really, I could eat my weight in strawberries every summer.
Our raspberry bush is in its third season and it's going gang busters. Hopefully, this year will be the first year we get more than just four cups of berries from it.
We're also going to try something new and get our mulch from the Urbana Landscape Recycling Center. I'd stayed away from them in years past because when CARE used the Meadowbrook Garden, they wouldn't let you use their own mulch there because it wasn't "clean enough." That sent up warning signals in my mind about chemicals, glass and plastic. But it turns out they have several different kinds of mulch, some of which they say does well on inclines (and ooh daisy, I have a bit of an incline erosion issue next to the driveway). And -- it's stupid cheaper for something that is just going to blow or get washed away every year due to high winds and crazy amounts of snow.
Why not try rocks in windy Savoy? Well, as my child proved today when he threw a rock at a girl at a friend's house (He wasn't the first child to throw one, but he should have known better) we're not out of the rock throwing phase. And I'd much rather replace mulch each year than windows.
Anyway, the Urbana price per cubic yard for the premium hardwood mulch, in bulk, is $20. I need five cubic yards for all the gardens. Last year I ordered five cubic yards from Country Arbours and paid almost $300. So, we'll see if saving the $200 is worth it. I'm hoping we'll spend it on one of the trees I'd like to plant. I would like to add a tree in the front yard, one in the back, and I think I'm going to replace the two "Arbor Day" saplings I planted when we moved in because we didn't have the funds after building the house to get "big trees" then.
In other news, The SuperFlynns' concrete guy from Concrete Evolutions in Bloomington is coming over to look at our patio this week. We have a ground squirrel that burrowed a home under our patio. His burrowing apparently was so intricate that it is causing part of our patio to sink in and crumble like a fault line. We had always talked about putting in a walkway from the driveway to the back patio, so maybe we'll just have them get rid of the ground squirrel and get us a new patio, too. One that makes some space for MacTroll and his smoker and maybe a larger seated area. I mean, in the long run, it means less grass for me to mow, right?
Speaking of, I didn't get to mow my patch of dandelions in the backyard today. Hopefully, the weather will stay nice enough for me tomorrow, so that after my run, I can at least mow the back.
I meant to take "before" and "after" photos of all the work we did today. But I forgot. And then it was dark. But hopefully in 50-85 days we'll have salsa for everyone. :-)