The Non-Consumer Advocate Takes the “Culture” out of “Horticulture”

by Katy on January 26, 2010 · 18 comments

My garden in summer

Today I tricked myself into doing a ton of yard work. Yes, “tricked,” because if I had known going into it that it would be working three long hours, there’s no way I would have even started. The front of the house has a couple of big flower beds with got-them-for-free perennials such as Japanese iris, witch’s wort, bishop’s weed, lobelia, lady’s mantle, day lilies, sedum and other flowers that transform from colorful beauties to grey-green slime come January. (Okay, it was earlier than January, but that’s irrelevant.) Every time I walk past this crime against Martha Stewart I think to myself, “Oh crap, I gotta deal with that.” Which is a very bad mindset to carry into the house.

Hardly a horticultural accomlishment.

And today I had nothing I really had to do. It wasn’t raining, the yard debrid bin had just been picked up and I hadn’t showered yet. (Filthy jobs like this require pre-shower status.) So I strapped on my audio book, gardening gloves and got busy.

In all it took around three hours to snip away at all the horticultural detritus, spread compost and prune some raspberries and my thicket of hydrangeas. And I only got through around half of the hydrangeas, as the yard debris bin wouldn’t accept even one more leaf.

I felt very proud have accomplished all this landscapery, as the front of the house no longer looked awful and I knew I was off the hook for another two weeks, (when the yard debris gets picked up) and indulged in a hot cleansing shower.

My only question was this — How did I get so much compost down the back of my shirt? And more importantly, does this happen to Martha?

Are you starting to get excited about the upcoming gardening season? Please share your horticultural stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine January 27, 2010 at 2:39 am

Katy, I am ready for the seasons to change, I am so over winter. I can handle about a month of cold weather. I’m ready to get my hands dirty and have compost down my back as well.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl January 27, 2010 at 3:14 am

Yes, I’m anxious to get some plants started! I’m full of good intentions to start some seedlings earlier than I did last year. And hopefully one bin of my compost will be ready to use by the time spring rolls around.


WilliamB January 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

Last year I mixed compost into the veggie bed in the Fall. It didn’t work out that way this year so I guess I’ll be doing it in the Spring. My concern is that the large bits in my rough-and-ready compost won’t have the winter to turn into small bits. OTOH I’ll know what’s being planted where and can keep the compost out of the potato patch. Guess I’ll find out next Fall which system is better.

And *this* year I won’t let the tomato vines grow out of control! Too many itsy-bitsy tomatoes last time. Live and learn.

I also want to try the method of elmer glue-ing seeds to a paper towel, then planting the towel.


shymom January 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

The rain is about to do me in. I am so ready for the warm weather. I can spend hours in my vegetable garden without realizing time is passing. On the other hand, most of my work in the front yard has the single goal of making the house look like someone actually lives there. The 4 redwood trees in my front yard hide my gardening sins…..or at least I like to think so.


Carla January 27, 2010 at 6:45 am

We are talking about some raised bed veggie gardens. This, from two total dud gardeners. We’ll see.


karen January 27, 2010 at 8:08 am

I transformed a field of weeds ( literally) into a garden over the course of 5 years with sweat equity traded for free plants & garden thinnings. I move my compost bin over 5 feet every year with a lovely following of new plants bursting out of the new ‘prime real estate’. I didnt realize that the weeds would keep coming back, lol, but it has become my outdoor gym & mediation center during the summer. I even acquired tools from garage / estate sales for cheaper than new so my only real investment has been time & energy. Unfortunately my husband likes A garden ( noun) not TO garden ( verb) so this has been my baby all the way…but I’m still eager for spring to get back out there with this years construction plans..


Shannon January 27, 2010 at 8:32 am

I’ve got my beds plotted and soon will head to the nursery for seeds. Last year we added berry bushes and strawberries, so I’m looking forward to them coming up. Also I started some peas indoors to try to have them ready for Easter dinner…we’ll see how that goes! Hard to visualize it all with another blanket of snow on the ground though.


Kimberly January 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

I can’t wait to start gardening again! It’s like therapy for me. I only have a porch, so I grow some tomatoe plants, lettuce, and herbs in pots. I’m going small scale this year since I lost so many plants to bugs last year. I think just a few will be easier to keep bug free without using pesticides.


Brenda January 27, 2010 at 9:18 am

You bet! I put up a post yesterday about my garden plans, though I am a long way from being able to get into my garden. We still have lots of snow and tempertures hovering around zero. I look forward to compost down my shirt. 🙂


Lisa January 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

I always look forward to gardening or at least being able to spend more time outdoors. An ice storm/snow is on its way here so for now my garden dreams remain exactly that….dreams.


Ashley January 27, 2010 at 11:14 am

I CAN’T WAIT!!!! I got so excited when I saw one of my indoor plants (a bulb) come back to life two weeks ago and it has flourished! I have now begun to chart out our backyard. This is the first year I will have a yard of my own and have big plans!


Valerie Heck January 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

I’m excited to work in my yard, though it’s complicated. We have a serious deer problem (I’ve seen 9 at one time). Both of my neighbors feed them. So I have to plant herbs and posinious plants they won’t eat. Also lots of ferns. If I were allowed to I would shoot some deer, I had another neighboor offer to make deer jerky but I’m certain there is no hunting in a neighboorhood. I have a few plants I really want to grow but the deer will probably eat them. Crossing my fingers.
By the way I have a me powered lawn mower and I love it. No gas to refill, no loud motor sound, it’s really easy and I have a big yard!


Leatrice January 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I am jonesing SO BAD! The weather in Texas where I live has been moody with some serious PMS. It’s 20 degrees one day and 70 the next, so any plans I may have are nul and void until the fickle Weather Mistress makes up her mind. But on those warm days…
I did, however, learn my lesson the hard way last year-I planted all my seeds on the “First Day of Spring” (March 21) and lost half my seeds/crops to One Last Frost that I never saw coming. From now on, I WILL listen to the old farmers when they tell me when to plant & what to plant & how to plant it!!!


The Prudent Homemaker January 27, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I’ve been out planting (again) this week. Normaly I am harvesting by now, but I think I found out what has been eating my seedlings. Our neighbor’s cat was eating our lettuce and digging in the bed two days ago!

Thankfully, I have turnips coming up, and a few beets actually made it.

I saw two aspargus spears poking up yesterday. I’m excited to have some more things from our garden soon!

You can see my garden here:

We grow a lot in a small space!
I’m hoping our lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard will be up soon. We plant in fall for an early spring harvest here (which would be now) but my fall plantings have not done well at all.


Jess January 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I am very excited for a garden this year. We want to try square foot gardening and now plowing the land (evidently this releases nitrogen and allows for more weeds) so we are going to try digging individual holes with a bulb planter and planting two seeds together (early and late growing). I still need to do the planning of what we’ll have and how to cross plant for late/early picking. I also want to plant in waves so we have more constant crops of items instead of a big load and then nothing. Good luck everyone and well done today Katy!


karen January 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm

hi there, I just wanted to say a quick hi, I am following your blog… I am in Bellbowrie, Queensland Australia and are new to this blog journey… and loving reading all these great blogs!!


Diana January 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Must be the time of year! I went to the local seed company today. Picked up several different varieties of early season veggies, herbs, & edilbe flowers. Time to count out days and do some plotting!


Marie-Josée January 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I grew microgreens (sunflower, buckwheat and wheat grass) in my house basement for two years in nursery beds, but abandoned the project when I returned to work full time. It was also kinda dirty, as we grew them in soil. Non-toxic, non-soil growing mediums have popped up in recent years and I want to give those a try. Our apartment has a skylight so the greens will get lots of light. Growing micro greens made me feel connected to nature and I felt a little self-sufficient growing a bit of my food. Plus, there are a greater variety of seeds available today, than back then, so I hope the soil-less medium works well. I would love to try growing veggies in raised beds in our coop yard, but we have a squirrel issue. There are two large nests in the neighbouring trees and they gobble everything up, including the flowers we have planted.


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