Hello! and welcome to my first blog post.

Let me start by saying I’m most definitely not an expert on sustainability, gardening, cooking, animals, or anything else for that matter. These happen to be the things I’m most passionate about and try to incorporate into my daily life. I feel very blessed to live in a community that shares and supports my passions, and I absolutely love this quirky, weird, small-business loving, tree-hugging, rainy little city.

Portland Oregon

Because it’s almost spring and I’ve been busy getting my yard in order, I thought I’d show you the lay of the land, aka my little yard. When my husband, Michael, and I moved into our house 17-years ago, it had the typical lawn in the front and back yards. I hated the lawn – hated dealing with the weeds, the moss, the bare spots, the mowing (or not mowing), and wasting water on something I didn’t like. In 2007, I got rid of most of the lawn in the back yard, but I left a small patch for Oscar and Nigel, our yellow-lab mix dog and furry tuxedo cat (more about them another time). I loved not having much of a lawn so much that in the summer of 2011, I got rid of all the lawn in the front yard too and replaced it with garden boxes and landscaping.

Instead of trying to pull up the lawn in the front yard in the areas that weren’t going to be gravel paths, I took the advice of my oldest sister, Pat (she’s a landscape designer so I thought I should listen), and placed a couple of layers of cardboard boxes over the grass and then covered them with a couple of cubic yards of an organic soil mix. Pat said the cardboard boxes would kill the grass, breakdown quickly, and help loosen the soil under the old sod. I didn’t bother pulling the tape off of the boxes I’d gathered; Pat said the tape would work its way out of the soil when I tilled it in the spring and it did!

Here are some “during” pictures of the 2011 lawn massacre and after/current pictures of my front yard.

Yard Before (1)  Yard Before (2)

Yard After (1)  Yard After (2)

I tilled the soil this past weekend and mixed in the straw I used to cover it over the winter along with some soil amendments from one of my favorite local farm supply stores – Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply. Naomi’s Mineral Mix has lime, magnesium, potash, calcium and sulfur; I also added some pelletized dolomite to the mineral mix. The ratio was 5 lbs. of each amendment per 100 sq.ft. of soil to raise the pH level. Last summer, my tomatoes weren’t doing as well as I’d hoped (the fruit tips were rotting) so raising the soil acidity should take care of it.

Yard After (3)  Yard After (4)

I’ll let you know which veggies and flowers I’m planting in the garden boxes and beds in my next post.

Cheers and thanks for stopping by!