Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Updates around the house

I'm excited that spring is finally here. Let's hope it stays around, I love that all of my plants have sprung back to life.
Tulips coming up in the front yard! 
Over the past few weeks, I've planted a new rose bed in our backyard. We had an empty spot along the left fence that gets full sun, so it was the perfect place for new roses.  We started by removing all of the grass that was there and building the area up with dirt. Then, I planted two knockout rose bushes that I moved from another place in our yard. We added about 6 bare root roses from Home Depot as an experiment. They were pretty inexpensive, so I wanted to try to grow them... so far 4/6 of them have done really well and have lots of new growth!
New rose bed

This weekend, we made a trip to Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham. This place is like heaven if you like rose bushes and like to collect them. I had to restrain myself but wound up getting some great ones! I was especially excited to get some David Austin roses, which are the type of large old English roses that often get confused for peonies. Here are the ones that we got.

David Austin's Heritage
Abraham Darby®
David Austin's Abraham Darby
Gertrude Jekyll®
David Austin's Gertrude Jekyll
Fame Hybrid Tea
Legends Hybrid Tea

Other than gardening, we have also had some updates made to the house! We had a new roof put on yesterday. I love how much it updates the house. The old shingles were a gray-ish brown and just looked tired. Now the architectural shingles match our shutters and just look so much nicer! Here are some pictures I took with my iPhone yesterday. 
First thing in the morning, tearing off the old
Sneaking a picture in the afternoon while they were
still working
The finished roof, this morning! 

Before (Christmas 2012) and After... what a difference!
So, what have you been up to around your house? Are you planting anything new in the yard?

Monday, April 8, 2013

DIY Raised Garden Bed

It's been more than a month since I last posted! I don't know why, but I guess we just haven't had that much going on, so there hasn't been anything interesting to post.
This weekend, however, we built a raised garden bed for our backyard and I'm excited to share it with you! We decided that we wanted to grow some veggies this summer, so we needed to find a place for them. I thought a raised bed was the perfect option to incorporate into our backyard plan. You can put a raised bed almost anywhere, just make sure you find an area that gets full sun, ideally at least 8 hrs a day.  This project is actually really easy and will make your garden look very organized, try it out!

We bought our supplies to build the bed at Home Depot. We decided we wanted a rectangular garden 4 feet wide by 6 feet long. To accomplish this, we bought one 12' board and one 8' board and had them cut them in half at the store. They will do this for free, so be sure to take advantage of this service! Also, when buying your wood, avoid any treated lumber, especially pressure-treated wood, which could seep chemicals into your garden. You definitely wouldn't want that if you are planning to eat the vegetables that you grow.  We selected kiln dried pine which cost about $30, here and here.
We created the frame by screwing the four boards together with long metal screws, after drilling pilot holes. After we had made the rectangle, we moved it into place in our garden. We dug out the ground a little bit, to make the bed level. After it is in the desired location, place a weed fabric down to prevent anything from growing up from the bottom. Then we filled it with compost and garden soil, be prepared, it takes a lot!
Then, we planted the veggies that we bought at the farmer's market! We selected roma tomatoes, zuchini squash, straight neck yellow squash, green bell peppers and pickling cucumbers. At this point, we were pretty excited with how easy it was and how great it looked already.

The next step is optional, but was necessary for us. We have tons of rabbits that live in our area and if not protected, they would likely eat our plants before they even had a chance to grow. So, we needed to create a barrier that would prevent rabbits from getting in, but still allow us to get in and tend to the veggies.
We did this with wooden garden stakes and chicken wire that we also bought at Home Depot.  We used a staple gun to keep the wire taught around the bed and secure it to the stakes.  With this done, our garden can be free from the rabbits!

Now we just wait for our veggies to grow! :)
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