Empty A Spot, Fill A Spot

With a pile of tree still to go through and a mountain of mulch in the driveway, my mantra has become, “Empty a spot, fill a spot.”

By noon on Thursday I had cleared enough brush to lay down two paths of stepping ‘stones’. I couldn’t go any further, however, due to the presence of the maple tree trunk.

With our mushroom order placed and on its way, this trunk was identified as the perfect growing medium for our future mushroom patch.

While I waited for Dave and the neighbor boy Brendan to cut it into moveable and usable pieces, I began moving in the brand new pine mulch. As I mentioned in my Thursday post, it was completely FREE from a local tree trimmer. And this is nice stuff, nice and light, good-smelling, great to work with.

I’ve now moved about ten wheelbarrow loads of mulch and starting to see some progress.

After we get the remainder of the branches out of the way, I plan to cover the entire area with mulch. Then, wherever we end up putting in raised beds, we will just shovel the mulch aside.

Mulch, as it breaks down, pulls nitrogen away from the soil. Unfortunately, I learned this after I planted a bunch of little tomato and pepper plants in the newly expanded front area – right into the mulch with only a few handfuls of compost. So today I will also be adding a pile of new compost to each of the plants to help compensate for any nitrogen loss they may have experienced.

They are a little taller now – the picture above had been taken when they were first planted. But they are by now means as large as my plants in the back. I’m hoping a fresh addition of compost will be just what the plant doctor ordered.

This past weekend I went to the KC Urban Farms & Gardens Tour. There were so many sites and simply not enough time to see them all! I’m hoping to talk about one of them each day at the end of my usual daily post. The variety of gardens experience, focus, and unique problem-solving methods were amazing. I learned so much and met so many great people! Dave and I completely geeked out at nearly every stop and walked away with so much knowledge and excitement and plans for our own garden…

St. John Gardens – Northeast Arts KC

I’m sure I wasn’t the only who looked at the address, 3916 St. John Avenue, and thought, “That’s gotta be at 39th and St. John.” If you did, well, you found out differently. So our first stop took a while to find, but I’m glad we did.

Throughout the garden there were multiple clever uses for old tires. From using as a decorative border…

to use as raised planters…

and even for steps…

Emily was the first to discover and point out the pond with fish near the back of the garden.

And there were also these lovely water plants and swan gracing one edge…

The area is definitely attracting pollinators. I manage to capture this little fellow working away at the bee balm…

The raised beds were looking great…

And Dave noticed this tarp-covered ‘structure’ and asked about it…

This was pretty neat. They pipe out the grey water from the building into a series of rain barrels and then use it to water the garden. Awesome! I was so impressed by it, as was Dave.

Finally, a couple of pieces of garden art…

Tune in tomorrow for a stop at the Urban Farming Guys garden. Not to be missed!

p.s. The big cottonwood tree in our neighbor’s backyard is coming down today. With 1/4 of its mass falling, it appears the rest of the tree is compromised and really needs to come down. We will be taking pictures throughout the process. It’s 90 feet tall. Now that’s quite a project!

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