Saturday, January 15, 2011

I hope you don't mind, but....

Dear Neighbors,

    My garden is almost full. I say this with pride, but also a touch of despair, for I have decided to plant a large, organic vegetable garden. Rip out my grass, you say? As idealistic as that sounds, I have five dogs who use it to chase each other and the crazy squirrels brave enough to raid my feeders, and a husband who loves the feel of soft grass under his feet as he makes his way to the hammock on warm summer evenings. I've made the garden as large as possible and now need more space. That's why I've decided to annex your yard, save you from a summer of mowing, and create the vegetable garden of my dreams. I hope you don't mind. I'll even share the bounty.

  Due to your absolute dread of all things gardening related, your backyards are almost completely free of any shrubbery or trees, allowing my tiller free access to a large swath of northern Virginia clay soil. To begin improving the soil, I will remove the sod, cover the clay with compost and my proprietary blend of organic fertilizers (ground alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, bone/blood meal, dried kelp, greensand, and ground eggshells). Since truly ammending the soil will take several years, I will errect collapsable raised beds to hold the veggies. But don't worry! I'll take them down once I've harvested my fall root vegetables so you don't have to look at them all winter.

    I know this may be coming as a surprise to all of you, but rest assured, it will all be okay. You no longer have to mow and can come over and lay in the hammock while I weed, stake, and tend to my crops.

   What will I be growing? Yellow, purple, orange, and white carrots, rainbow chard brighter than the Vegas strip, blue potatoes for Thanksgiving - just to keep things interesting, a green cauliflower so spikey it looks the love child of a triceratops and a brocolli, purple and green lettuces, beets as striped as a candy cane, and watermelons as sweet as sugar. Tomatoes of every variety will soar, stout and hefty, alongside basil and fennel. Cucumbers will intermingle with tiny patty pan squashes, those UFO imposters so expensive at the store. I'm even planning on planting a row of 'Pink Lemonade' blueberries. Blueberry muffins made with pink berries? Absolutely!!! Never underestimate the power of confusion. 'Red Swan' and 'Purple Dove' beans will climb your deck, greeted each dawn by heirloom morning glories. By mid summer when the lettuce has melted in the heat, I'll plant pumpkins and let your kids pick their own for free. I've just saved you a trip to the pumpkin patch. You can thank me later.

   Gotta go! I need to put in my seed order and with all these catalogs to go through, it will take a while. By the way, you are the BEST neighbors ever!!

Sincerely,
TS

24 comments:

  1. My mouth is watering at your description of the new garden. I can't wait for summer! Isn't it nice to have such divinely wonderful neighbours, you're most fortunate. How on earth did you bribe them?

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  2. No bribery needed! I just couldn't imagine anyone would possibly say no to such a fabulous proposal. After all, if they're not using their back yard, then I should!! I am so lucky to live next to such cooperative people!

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  3. Tammy - what an inspiration you are to those with limited land! You could start a movement. Looking forward to progress reports! :-D

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  4. I agree with the comments above. You really have a good plan in place and a lot of inspiration. You really could start a movement. I am glad I popped in. Great idea.

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  5. You wouldn't mind if I just showed your post to my neighbors would you? Especially to the right, they've got the back 40 over there! Nothing but St. Augustine sucking down precious water every summer...they could really use some vegetables. Oh, yes, and perennials too, I do love perennials.

    Btw, loved your comments of late - you are so funny! Seriously though, do you have a specific question about my photos (like the lens I use) or do you mean the textures on the photos in my recent post? As I've been cooped up lately I've been playing with photoshop and so added textures to the pictures. I'm not changing color the image but just adding some vintage texture to them. Thanks for all your encouragement - you make blogging fun!

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  6. Cat - Ah ha! Photoshop! Mystery solved! Time to upgrade the software from modern cavewoman to just modern! ;o) My camera is a point and shoot. That's about all I can handle! I'll just keep going to your blog, drooling over your exquisite photography skills. I am planning, though, to stop taking videos of my purse and pockets. Big sigh... It's such an unappreciated genre!

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  7. TS, I must say I too drool over Cat's blog. I use a point and shoot like you do, so there is no point asking about lens unless we intend to use something more complicated, right?

    Good idea to take over your neighbor's garden. I also would like to get rid of my lawn but my dogs and hubby want the lawn intact. I'm lucky enough to use some land just across the street. I've gotten permission from the developer. They still mow the lawn. I take care of the beds. Of course, I share my 'bounty' with others especially the gardeners.

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  8. You guys capture great shots with your point and shoot cameras- tons of great shots. (Your header for instance Tammy - I love that picture). I asked about the lens because I have a macro lens which gives a lot of flexibility. You can use your macro button on your point and shoot and create a lot of the shallow depth of field shots that I take. My best friend is a professional photographer and she always tells me that the shot is 95% of the work...photoshop can enhance but it never makes a bad shot good! My skills really improved once I learned to take my camera off "auto" and played around with the manual settings...its not too hard just takes some practice...kind of like gardening! Again, thanks for your compliments and encouragement...it makes me strive to find creative ways to express my garden ;)

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  9. I think I may have to buy out your neighbors and move in. All those mouth-watering descriptions! ( You are such a good writer!) You just can't beat fresh home grown veggies!

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  10. Hi TS - thanks for popping into my blog and leaving your kind comments about the arson attack....I'm starting to feel better about it now and karma will get the gits that did it!

    I've loved reading your blog - I really enjoy your writing style (and can feel the pain of your boy leaving for the army too, my heart goes out to you on that one - university was bad enough!). I'll be popping back to see how you're getting on :)

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  11. Wonderful idea - there is a scheme called Landshare here in the UK in which people with gardens they under use or can't handle offer growing space to people with frustrated dreams of a veg garden and no space. Its really taking off. Maybe you should start the US version?!

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  12. Plantalicious - I checked out the Landshare link and it's awesome!! I love the idea of creating gardens out of unused land. My family has a running bet that of the two yards I'd like to annex, one would notice immediately and be less than thrilled, and one might not notice at all. I can always dream!!

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  13. TS: It's so fun to read your blog! The image of your neighbors resting in the hammock while you work...had me chuckling out loud. Good luck with the garden this spring! Beth

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  14. I hope your neighbors take you up on it :) I know I've thought about asking my next door neighbor if she would mind me taking over the planting strip that's between our driveways. After your description of what you would plant how can your neighbor say no?

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  15. You'd make a great neighbor! What an improvement to the neighborhood -- those folks are lucky to live next to you. By the way, is there really such a plant as 'Pink Lemonade' blueberries? And are they pink? Really?

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  16. Laurie - Pink blueberries really exist! I couldn't believe it either! I saw them in a seed/plant catalog. Check out this link:
    http://www.pinklemonade-blueberry.com/

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  17. What a great plan. You both win. But once the neighbours see the wonderful vege garden they may be converted and want to join in gardening too. It can be catching.
    Thanks for thinking of us during the floods. We're still having a few problems with power etc so I'm a bit slow at catching up but really appreciate it.

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  18. I should try doing that, I might get a good array of little balconies around here

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  19. Very imaginative post. I wish you were my neighbor. I am not big on lawns and have gotten rid of a lot but I still have plenty to spare. Come on over.

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  20. Ooh, I hope this isn't fictional writing. Seriously... if you haven't asked those neighbors yet, you should. And show them photos of the carrots. Surely they'll say yes!

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  21. Of please please make it down to North Carolina, you can have my whole back yard. Hubby is tired of moving it. Sounds lovely. I'll be waiting.

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  22. Sounds like you'll have a busy and rewarding summer!!

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  23. TS I was just thinking of you when your comment came through! The beautiful snow was shown on the news and I wondered if you'd be posting some beautiful snow shots!

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  24. Hi! I just came in from whacking snow off my viburnum! I'll be taking lots of snow pix tomorrow. We've had a dry, cold winter and I'm thrilled to see so much snow!! :o)

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