Backyard: plants, garden irrigation, bender board, and compost!

Since the weather got nice, in January 😦  we have been working on the backyard.  We already posted about how we put in two espaliered fruit trees on the side of the driveway and put in a bocce ball court and veggie garden beds.  Well after all of that the back yard was still mostly dirt.  It looked like this.


In February we had a week off from work and with the help of my mom and dad we put in quite a few plants.  We went shopping at Home Depot and got a maple tree and a small lime tree.

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Then we went to a plant wholesale nursery in Morgan Hill to get another tree and some small plants.  They had all kinds of plants there and a ton more in another location that the guy had to drive to to get the tree we wanted.  When he came back he had two cute corgis in his truck too!

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Next we turned the empty veggie garden beds into actual usable garden beds by filling them up and adding a sub-irrigation system to help use less water during the drought.  First we filled the beds with load after load of crappy dirt from our yard and then we started to install the sub- irrigation system.  This consists of French Drain tubing which is black plastic tubing with little slits cut into it all over.  Then we put a tube fabric on it which keeps the dirt out of the tube but will still let water pass through.  Last, we connected them to pvc pipes on one side of the garden bed and plastic tubing on the other side and them covered them up with the good dirt we got delivered.  Now all we have to do is very infrequently fill up the two tubes by with a hose by putting the hose in the PVC end of the tube and wait a little water comes out the other end and we know the tube is full.  Then is slowly lets out water below the surface so all of it goes to the roots and none gets wasted through evaporation.  Thanks for the idea Mom, Papa, and Pinterest!

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We also started on the lawn by buying and installing bender board in the shape we wanted for the lawn.  This was quite a feat because the bender board comes in 20ft lengths!  We strapped them to the top of Todd’s Dad’s Denali and were able to slowly get them home.  Thanks Bill!  Installing the bender board was tricky because I had to finally decide on a shape for the lawn and not change my mind.  Then Todd, my dad, and Tony worked together to install in all over the course of a few days.


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The soil we found under all the concrete that used to be in our back yard was horrible and needed to be upgraded to be able to support life again.  My parents found a mushroom farm in Gilroy that gives away it’s used compost after they have used it a few times to grow mushrooms.  They are only open on weekdays so my parents took down their ’64 Ranchero and file dup the back with compost.  They got more than they bargained for!  It was the smelliest compost I have ever smelled.  They had to rive home with it all the way from Gilroy.  It smelled even with a cover on it.   When Todd lifted the cover, he almost passed out!  Todd and my dad rototilled in into our dirt and it smelled for a week!  Sorry neighbors! Lesson learned: free compost = super smelly compost!

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Up next: lawn, gold fines, flagstone, and more plants!



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