Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Exciting Update!

We've talked about it for a while, but we are finally doing it! YES! We are breaking up a 20 x 20 feet area of concrete to make more veggie beds! We hired our gardener and he gladly broke up the "urbanite" and hauled it away. My husband insisted he can do all that, but seriously, at what cost/time? He works full-time, so it would only be done during the weekend, plus he's a tie-wearing mouse-pusher. Not really the physical type to be bustin' up concrete. I told him he has lots of wood working projects backed up anyhow.
There was stil a lot of gravel and sand under the concrete, so we had to have all that hauled away too... cost more for that
finally we see some real dirt! This soil hasn't seen the sun since the house was built in 1954! Before the concrete, there was asphalt on this area. We know this, because our family bought this house back in 1986, and it was a asphalt driveway until we had it repaved in the mid 90's.
We plan on letting the soil sit a while with some compost on top, let the wormies do their thing, then plant some native wild flowers, so their roots can penetrate the tough soil. Then, after that we plan on planting corn. The Corn plants' roots host microbes that break up toxic chemicals from asphalt. So does Sunflowers and crabgrass, but our son is severely allergic to Sunflower seeds, and letting crabgrass go rampant just doesn't sound pleasant to an urban homestead that's seeking to look "pretty" but productive. We'll have to find some local folks that are looking to get rid of their topsoil and bring some here. the soil level here is about 4" less that the rest of the garden.
The rains caused a mini lake. I foresee some drainage issues... But I'm excited! We added some grass clippings from the neighborhood lawns to get the composting going and hopefully some natural softening of the soil by our friendly earthworms. (note the small tree in a 15 gal pot. This is the dwarf, grafted, 3 variety asian pear tree that went to a new home. We simply didn't have enough room for this one, even though we brought it with us from the other house. It went to a good home, and we got to trade it for credit on organic supplements!) See our doggy Happy too, the new space is pretty big in contrast to him!
If you want to see this area BEFORE it was broken up, you can check it out here and also here:


jake said...


Holy Cow!

I had a wash house in my backyard I demolished. Took a few weekends :) and ended up having two brothers and my dad help me destroy the foundation. Ugggh. I will never do THAT again. Was not fun. My backyard has some weeds, but not where the foundation was! The backyard looks much bigger now and I'll have more room for planting stuff. Unfortunately, my garden sucks compared to yours. I just dont have the time to keep it updated well. Its ready to go though and Ive propagated some tomatoes from last season so Im already at least doing something.

"Janice, the envy of all urban homesteaders." -Abraham Lincoln

Well, Im sure he would have said it! - 1916home.net

Gwen said...

Cool! And I love the new name for hubby - "tie-wearing mouse pusher." Funny! Can't wait to see what you do with the newly acquired dirt/square footage.

AJK said...

Hahaha, Dave! Thanks for checking in on the ol' blog! I doubt Abe Lincoln would have said THAT! LOL! That's incredibly hard work to demolish concrete foundations, I can't believe you did that!

Thanks Ginger, the new name has been around a while here at home, it's tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes he gets peeved by it, esp if he feels his manhood being trod upon, but I don't want him to be complaining of achy joints from all the demolition when he's 70.

Brandon said...

hey Janice. This is really cool, I'm glad you have more room to plant. I'm eager to see it grow some corn!

Anonymous said...


pdxlisa said...

400 more square feet of happy dirt! I don't think concrete cause any soil problems, but I don't know about asphalt. The corn sounds like a good idea.

Thank goodness you had somebody do the heavy lifting.

Any legume cover crop will help loosen the soil, add organic matter and fix nitrogen if you turn it under before it goes to seed.

I used fava beans and Austrian field peas on my newly naked dirt.

My envy of your year round produce factory has not abated. I am drooling over those oranges.

Anonymous said...


How exciting for you guys!

Happy looks a bit worried about the "mini" pond in that picture.

I hope you are able to grow some good stuff in the new area.