Friday, April 26, 2013

And then this happened...

So we've done a lot of work in the backyard, and finally things have become relatively stable back there, so on to the front! I think I posted photos of the front a while ago, but for those of you who haven't seen them, or for those who have forgotten that we live in a rowhome, let me remind you have what we have to work with. We are not people who have "front yards" full of trees, grass, or "side yards" where you have space to walk in between buildings. We have three cement slabs, some brick stairs, a sidewalk, and street. Cement cement cement, brick brick brick, asphalt asphalt asphalt. But where is a plant supposed to grow in all of that? Of course, because our street is so narrow, trees have been deemed too large for our street (believe me, we looked into all of the possibilities...), and digging a garden into the cement presented a whole number of other issues. is what we did instead! Again, Peter's handiwork made this delightful project come to life! The flowers were my contribution. So far, we've gotten many compliments on it from people in the neighborhood. Others have warned us that we'll probably get a fine from the city for it, but we're going to take our chances on it. We looked for the ordinance that cites raised beds "permit worthy," but found nothing so far, so this An interesting development in this whole thing is that the city is putting a new law in place this year that fines homes and businesses per square foot of impervious surfaces (cement, asphalt, etc…), so technically our raised bed will actually be in line with that law’s mission (to limit the amount of water entering the storm drains which limits the amount of runoff that enters the bay…), so we’ll see what happens.

When we had our plumbing fixed and some of our concrete was removed to access the sewer main, the guy told me that we should have the concrete replaced asap, otherwise we could get a fine from the city for that, too, which refers to the old law which required concrete on all back yards as a rat abatement technique. So on the one hand Baltimore fined for no concrete, and now it will start fining if you do have concrete. Goodness! We’ve had enough people come by who have reacted positively to the raised bed, that I feel like no one will report us, but you never know. There may be a select few who are stewing from their second story windows, calling 311 repeatedly about the “despicable wooden structure in front of 2845 Miles,” in which we’ll get a visit from the city soon.  Yikes!  In the meantime, we're going to enjoy our bamboo, our soil, and the positive reactions that we've been receiving.  It feels nice! 

Tis spring!!!!
Our front stoop, and Peter's project in the works in the background.
Building building...
It's going to be big!
More flowers in our pots!
Looking down the street towards 29th St.
Looking down the street toward 28th St.
Our whole house!  Raised bed and all (with dirt!).
Where did all of that dirt come from!?!?  Well let me tell you...It's from this great place that does compost and potting soil called "Chesapeake Compost Works."  Great place.  Thanks Vinnie. ; )
Looking down the street.  Where are the trees?!?!?
This stuff is supposed to grow 6 ft over the summer?  I'm a little skeptical...but we'll see.  
Chesapeake Compost Works is where we got our soil.  It's actually owned by our good friend Vinnie Bevivino, and we love the work that he's doing.  Baltimoreans!  Support his work when you can, and everyone else, spread the good news!  Here's his website:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wowzas! Things are looking up around here!

Hello everyone!

I can't remember exactly when I wrote the last post, but it doesn't feel like it was that long ago...but in that amount of time--this happened!!!  I don't know how different it looks from an outside perspective, but let me tell you--this was a lot of work.

After we removed the cement pile (yes!), I immediately went into hard labor mode.  For about a week solid, I went out there and went to "digging."  And it was the single most dissatisfying act that I've ever experienced.  The shovel would go in one centimeter (no joke!) and it would hit a rock, which I would pry out and toss into my rock pile (pictured below).  This continued for a good three days until I could finally "dig" like digging should happen (where the shovel actually enters the soil).  I also laid my brick/cement keyhole path for the garden (Peter did the larger path to the right--ain't it purdy?), built the small raised bed for leafy greens (we've heard that Baltimore has high lead issues--I'll be testing the soil to find out for sure), installed the gutter to grow my baby greens, and added some organic matter to the soil. 

That's it for now!  Thanks for reading! 
Our new backyard! 
The baby greens gutter garden!  Reuse Reduce Recycle! 
The way things look from the back corner.
The dreaded rock pile.  There were so. many. rocks. in. that. SOIL!!!!  AHHH!
Peter's beautiful path. 
A couple pea plants I transplanted to the raised bed.  The first green things to grow in our back yard!