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April 20, 2009

How green is your garden?

Today is our third day of record-breaking heat in the city of Angels... yesterday the temperature gauge on my back patio reached 102. A few more days of this and everything will be brown and crispy.

I've figured out the spray paths of the sprinklers, and last year I decided to give up on manual watering and just have things potted in and around the sprinklers (thanks in advance to the 200 people about to write me of the joys of drip irrigation but that is a no go, documented here.) My sprinkler-container relocation strategy worked well enough, except the cucumbers burned up in the Valley heat in just a few weeks. The pumpkins did well, considering the gardeners would weed whack the vines every few weeks. I have a testy and contentious relationship with the new gardeners. They scold me, they're ruthless in their desire to have nothing growing but useless lawn and ivy and we clash. Every Saturday it's a contest of wills and since they have the mowers they usually win.

BUT. I am thinking of doing something that would blow their little minds. It will make them crazy. They will shake their fists of fury at me.

I am thinking of renting some kind of machinery doodad to tear up the whole back 40 and remove all the grass -- instructing them NOT TO COME NEAR IT with those weed whackers -- and just plant the whole thing with pumpkins, zucchini (oh, how I love your growingness, crazy zukes!) and herbs. As of now the only things I have growing are my dad's heirloom peppers, carefully pruned back and loved by yours truly for two years now, some mint that survived the harsh 60-degree winter, and two lovely containers of thyme. I LOVE thyme. It's by far my favorite herb, I just love its cheerful tiny leaves, it's happy little white flowers, it's delicate smell. I've decided this year to grow every variety of thyme I can find, just for the sheer happiness of being surrounded by my favorite herb.

According to My Personal Weatherman Dallas Raines, the heatwave is supposed to end soon and by the weekend it will drop 40 degrees in the Valley, back down to a very awesome mid-60-ish, perfect for digging up the entire backyard. I figure this is my last real opportunity to spend a Saturday or Sunday doing serious messing around in the yard before it becomes hotter than the scorching surface of the sun and I find myself locked inside with the air on full blast, refusing to go outside until dark.

-- 5 minutes later --

So I just called my landlord and told him my excellent idea and he reminded me there are pipes and all kinds of stuff in the ground and could I please refrain from using heavy machinery? But other than that he said he doesn't care what I grow in the backyard and I can tell the gardeners to leave the whole back-back yard alone if I want. Victory!

Sort of. I already have a big raised bed in the back (I started it after getting excited reading All New Square Foot Gardening) but I don't want to do more raised beds since I'm not sure how much longer I will stay in this house and they are EXPENSIVE to fill with dirt the first go around. Maybe I'll just dig up little areas here and there and plant pumpkins and let it all Darwinize. Survival of the fittest!

-- 10 minutes later --

Maybe I have lost my mind.
Should make for an inneresting garden.

Posted by laurie at April 20, 2009 10:38 AM