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Polysorbate80
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Reply #105 on: May 14, 2018, 12:42:01 PM

The water is (and has always been) a nuisance, but this is more for access than serious travel and making that gravel deep enough to abate it would be quite literally a pain.  Having the pavers not flush with the gravel either helps; I notice everyone's tendency is to step on the stones and not the gravel.  I put them in just deep enough to keep them from moving around when stepped on.

It'll piss me off more when I'm dragging the hose through and it catches.

The tractor was purchased the winter we moved in.  At first I thought, "eh, snowplow can wait, I want a new pickup."  Then it snowed about 16" one night.  Goodbye $25k for a tractor.  That's a 7' mower on the back at the moment.  I really, really want to get the backhoe attachment so I can indulge my inner little boy and dig lots of holes  awesome, for real
Viin
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Reply #106 on: May 14, 2018, 04:03:16 PM

I wish I had enough property for a tractor! Nice work, my wife does all the landscaping/gardening around our house and it's finally starting to fill in.

- Viin
Count Nerfedalot
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Reply #107 on: May 14, 2018, 09:16:24 PM

just a suggestion, but wouldn't it work better to bend the curve a little deeper or shallower so the utility box was at the edge of the path instead of the middle? you could even hide it under a rock then

Yes, I know I'm paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?
Polysorbate80
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Reply #108 on: May 14, 2018, 10:39:28 PM

Going a bit further to the right between the water/electrical boxes would have been a good idea.  I think my brain was in a bit of a rutóIíve just always treated the box as a stepping stone.

Rather than moving the whole path though I think iíl just push that side out further and leave the rest where it is.

Edit:  Y'know what, maybe I just widen the whole thing around there, and put a planter box or something over that spot.  Needs to be something movable in case I need access, but that shouldn't be a problem...just need to think of something.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 10:55:00 PM by Polysorbate80 »
Count Nerfedalot
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Reply #109 on: May 15, 2018, 08:30:31 PM

one of your little statuary things maybe?

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Polysorbate80
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Reply #110 on: June 03, 2018, 03:31:15 PM

Had a birthday party for a friend at our house, so I had to finish the firepit...here it is in action, with faces blurred to protect the guilty.  The men are all inside drinking beer at this point, they came out later.

Mandella
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Reply #111 on: June 03, 2018, 04:33:22 PM

Is that your daughter on the trebuchet, er, swing?

 Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

Seriously, that is a nice scene and a great firepit. Nothing satisfies at a party like going outside and setting some fires..

My solar project has been permitted and they should be shipping the goods out to me Monday. There is also some "locally sourced" components (read, not covered by the amount I've already spent) that I need to pick up, but I've still got to wait for the final shopping list they are putting together for me, also due out Monday.

 Ohhhhh, I see.

I had an interesting conversation with the county planning office guy. He was actually really into solar and wanted to see a lot more of it down here, but he was telling me that when he proposed some local incentives for that purpose a couple of years ago he got shot down, not by the old school powers that be, but the local Greenies. You see, these guys showed up at the public forum part of the initiative and demanded that wind (and all other alternate energy possibilities) be included in the incentive package and raised such a stink that the commission, which had been leaning to approve, just shut it down.

Now, you got to understand, we get a *lot* of potential solar energy here, even in rainy times, but unless we're having a tornado we have no real wind to speak of. It's just not something you want to encourage people to spend money on, especially when solar fills in nicely for all the traditional wind power uses -- manly pumping water for irrigation and livestock. But apparently *somebody* wanted to build a windmill (and have a nice tax break from it).

Also   Ohhhhh, I see.

Polysorbate80
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Reply #112 on: June 03, 2018, 07:56:31 PM

Yup, daughter is on the kidapult/swing in the background.


Our local environmental people have the same habit you describe of offputting folls who mostly would be willing to work with them if the greens had better interpersonal skills
Paelos
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Reply #113 on: June 04, 2018, 09:07:20 AM

I bought a house  ACK!

And that means I have a .5 acre yard that's fairly lush and overgrown, and I have never had a yard or any landscaping experience. I figure this is the thread to go to. I'll end up posting some pics here once I get them, but I figure some of you might be good for advance on how to do a yard that's not huge like a few of you, but has some potential.


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Yegolev
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Reply #114 on: June 04, 2018, 09:43:47 AM

Are you very opposed to hiring someone?  Things grow quickly in GA in spring.

Why am I homeless?  Why do all you motherfuckers need homes is the real question.
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Reply #115 on: June 04, 2018, 10:06:16 AM

I bought a house  ACK!

And that means I have a .5 acre yard that's fairly lush and overgrown, and I have never had a yard or any landscaping experience. I figure this is the thread to go to. I'll end up posting some pics here once I get them, but I figure some of you might be good for advance on how to do a yard that's not huge like a few of you, but has some potential.

My yard is less than 1000 square feet; (so... 0.02 acre?), so I have some good experience with doing a "not huge" yard.   awesome, for real  

The book I recommend to everyone on the topic of yard planning, especially if you don't have infinite space/time/money to just try building lots of different stuff, is "Yards" by Billy Goodnick.  I went through a shitton of books that had examples of layouts of various sizes, practical instructions on how to build various things, but his was the only book that actually tells you how to design a yard yourself.  What the pros came up with (after I gave them my list of priorities to work with) wound up being pretty similar to the design I'd sketched out based on the instructions from that book.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
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Reply #116 on: June 04, 2018, 03:19:43 PM

Are you very opposed to hiring someone?  Things grow quickly in GA in spring.

No I'm not opposed at all, I'm going to get somebody to do landscaping eventually I just don't trust them to have good ideas that don't cost a bajillion dollars. I'd rather come in with a plan and work off of that rather than blank slate here's a bunch of money mentality.

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Samwise
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Reply #117 on: June 04, 2018, 03:53:45 PM

Tell the landscapers up front what your budget is.  There are a bunch of different tiers; the ones who want to do $200k jobs for millionaires won't want to waste any time with you.

Best way to get a sense for how good their ideas are is to look at a portfolio of their work.  That'll also give you a clue how expensive they are.

If I had to do it all over again, though, I'd do more of it myself, especially the design part, and just outsource the really heavy lifting (anything involving masonry and dryscaping).  And I wouldn't recommend putting a lot of money or effort into the yard as soon as you move in -- give it a year so you can get a sense for where water collects when it rains, which spots are sunny or shady at different times of year, what things you like and want to build off, what things you hate and want to change.  Take notes.

I'd been living in my place for about seven years before I finally buckled down to doing a proper landscaping job in the back yard.  I wouldn't recommend waiting that long, but it gave me plenty of time to familiarize myself with what exactly I'd be working with.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Polysorbate80
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Reply #118 on: June 04, 2018, 04:38:05 PM

And make sure you know where the water/sewer lines run around your property.  Deep-rooted plants love to grow into those; try to keep large trees 'n  such away from those in your planning.
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Reply #119 on: June 04, 2018, 04:38:46 PM

I'm going over there today I'll post some photos.

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Reply #120 on: June 05, 2018, 10:33:12 AM

Here are the pictures from around the backyard. I went right to left.








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RhyssaFireheart
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Reply #121 on: June 05, 2018, 10:33:54 AM

I finished a project around the house this past weekend.  Literally, I laid edgers stones around the landscaping beds around our house.  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?  Did it in phases because my estimate was for approximately 150ish stones and it ended up being 163 total.  Decided to do this because we had some serious washout areas around the house (west side yard was all dirt from washout, east side yard was partially affected but the erosion was much worse.  With the edgers controlling the water flow somewhat and the stones under the downspouts as well, I think it's going to work out and help the problems.  

Phase one - along the front and down west side yard of the house.  50 stones.

Husband put down grass seed once I was done with this much and the side yard is look much better already.  Grass is thin but with repeated seedings will hopefully thicken up more.  And since we got rain for each of the following three weekends after I did this phase, that means I could see where the water was still flowing a bit too much and fix that.

Phase two - around the garage / east side of the house.  Did this phase over Memorial Day weekend when it was dry and the HVAC guys were done putting in the new AC and furnace.  You can really see where the erosion has hit the back corner of the house there.  That's going to need some dirt dropped on top of the rocky Illinois clay to get anything to grow again.  We've had some rain again since I did this section but I can't really tell how well the edgers and rocks there will help under that downspout. 60 stones this time.

Phase three - final run along the back of the house.  There's a few spots of erosion from the water flowing along the natural edging we used to have around the mulch beds, but those will fill right in with seed. 45 stones at first, then realized we were short and needed another 8 stones, so 53 total.


All the washing out and erosion really started when we did natural edging around our landscape areas.  With how the waterflow was in some places, it just took that dirt edge and whittled away the grass until there was no saving some spots.  So I think this will help, plus it looks really nice now.  
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 10:37:32 AM by RhyssaFireheart »

Samwise
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Reply #122 on: June 05, 2018, 12:06:27 PM

Nice work, Rhyssa!

Paelos, that's a much more kempt yard than what I was picturing -- looks like you've got some nice paths already in place and some well-established plantings.  (My yard was basically a briar patch when I moved in, not so much as a bare level spot to put a grill on.)  My advice would definitely be to spend some time getting to know it before planning any big changes; there's probably a lot that works well already. 

What sorts of things do you want your yard to be good for?  Growing food?  Outdoor cooking?  Relaxing with a book in the shade?  Wildlife watching?  Croquet parties?  Everything you decide to do when designing a space depends on what you envision yourself doing while you're in that space.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
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Reply #123 on: June 05, 2018, 01:12:45 PM

I'm thinking I want to have a place to sit and read, enjoy a drink, and cook outdoors with some outdoor party areas. I think I'll need some good seating areas for people to congregate while we hang out in the yard.

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Polysorbate80
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Reply #124 on: June 05, 2018, 01:52:53 PM

That is a nice yard, Paelos.  I'd consider putting some kind of raised planter in the circular area in that first photo, with seating around it possibly (or firepit, but I don't know how Georgia is on that kind of thing...)

And photo #4 is screaming for a small outdoor kitchen around the periphery of that concrete slab...
Polysorbate80
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Reply #125 on: June 05, 2018, 02:03:58 PM

Rhyssa, my problem is usually buying too much stone and then figuring out what to do with the leftover  Ohhhhh, I see.  Looks good, and the grass will thicken up.  It always looks sparse when it's coming in, once it's grown tall enough to start mowing it'll fill out more.

One thing I did at my house, most of the downspouts empty into drain tile w/gravel buried under the yard.  Water filters out from there into the soil underneath at a manageable rate, and we don't wind up with significant erosion.  BUT:  we're not known for tremendous amounts of rainfall around here, if you get too much it might not work for you.  Plus LOTS of digging, bleh.  I'd like to buy a trencher attachment for the tractor to do that sort of thing, but it's ludicrously overpriced.  Way more cost-effective to rent it.

The only time I worry about drainage much is in the late winter when we get rainfall on top of snow, and then it can cause washout around the culvert at the bottom of my driveway because the adjacent field drains through that spot.  When the contractor re-poured my front walkway, they had some concrete left over so I had them dump it on the downhill side of the culvert; it's worked pretty well so far for keeping the stone in place.
Paelos
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Reply #126 on: June 05, 2018, 02:16:10 PM

That is a nice yard, Paelos.  I'd consider putting some kind of raised planter in the circular area in that first photo, with seating around it possibly (or firepit, but I don't know how Georgia is on that kind of thing...)

And photo #4 is screaming for a small outdoor kitchen around the periphery of that concrete slab...

Thank you! My wife wants me to put in a screened patio around that slab, so an outdoor grilling area/kitchen is highly likely.

I do think I'll put in some planters. I also like the idea of what Rhyssa did with those stones to make my paths a little better.

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Polysorbate80
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Reply #127 on: June 07, 2018, 02:57:24 PM

Garden Revamp Part 2:  There's Flowers In There Somewheres

I needed to move some of the cobblestone in my driveway to make room for a semi to turn around (freight delivery day)  so I started hacking through the jungle on the other side of the garden.  I've been working laying stone/weedblock around the ribbon grass clusters I want to keep, this time it's the iris and the lavender on the other end of the path:



I've had to pull some of the lavender out, it's got so much grass growing through it that it's getting choked out and looks like shit.  Luckily lavender takes well to digging up, parting out and replanting.  Besides the pot in the picture I've got half a dozen other smaller pieces repotted.  They'll stay in the pots probably until next year when I figure out where to replant them.  I love having it in the garden, it attracts LOADS of honeybees (my son is demonstrably less thrilled about that.)

That's as far as I got before the freight shipment I mentioned arrived.  It's not really a project, but it did require transportation and some assembly so it kinda counts?



250 games loaded, with the ability to load more or install other game consoles in the cabinet for use with the controller.  Ghosts 'n Goblins was first, I have never beaten that game...
RhyssaFireheart
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Reply #128 on: June 07, 2018, 04:26:26 PM

Paelos - that does look like a decent backyard that just needs some loving.  Are those paths meant to be there or did the previous owners just wear down the grass and never fixed it?  Biggest change I'd make right off is to remove that bush-thing between the tree and the red bush in pic #3.  That's got the least potential for benefit IMO.  And the reason I like having the stones around our landscape areas now it because it gives definition to the area and contains the mulch to where I want it to be.

Polysorbate - I'm jealous of your irises and lavender!  I wish I had enough full sunlight to grow either without stuffing them into a corner somewhere.  I'd love to have not just more bees, but butterflies as well, and since there's a creek along the back edge of the yard, I'd get dragonflies and damselflies too, which I love.

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Reply #129 on: June 08, 2018, 01:58:29 PM

I'm guessing the dirt areas are from oak trees.  But it's a good start to a yard.

General things I've learned or decided:

Battery-powered lawn/garden equipment is best for me. Gasoline engines are just outside my ability to maintain over a long storage period.  I have a Ryobi 40-watt "trimmer" with a triangular blade which is great at terrorizing unwanted flora.  Would be overkill on a urban yard like yours, but the point is that battery tools are rather mature now.

I have "local" sprinkler controls and eventually the maintenance becomes a problem.  I'd suggest a centrally controlled setup if you are going to install or revise your sprinklers.

Why am I homeless?  Why do all you motherfuckers need homes is the real question.
They called it The Prayer, its answer was law
Mommy come back 'cause the water's all gone
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Reply #130 on: June 08, 2018, 02:12:00 PM

I'm leaning that direction towards battery tools as well. I can't see myself working with gas engines at this point in my life over a yard that's basically .5 acre.

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01101010
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Reply #131 on: June 08, 2018, 02:19:13 PM

If you have one, a Home Depot with tool rental is really valuable.

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Yegolev
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Reply #132 on: June 08, 2018, 03:16:47 PM

Yea, we have Home Depot out the ass in The ATL.  Arthur Blank owns both our football teams.

Why am I homeless?  Why do all you motherfuckers need homes is the real question.
They called it The Prayer, its answer was law
Mommy come back 'cause the water's all gone
Selby
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Reply #133 on: June 08, 2018, 07:02:57 PM

I use gas for my tools over my 0.5 acre of forest. The battery tools just donít last that long enough for my usage and cords are a pain to use with a 100í extension cord. If you buy ethanol free gas you practically donít have to do much of any maintainence. Iím on year 4 with my current set of tools I inherited from my dad and neighbor - theyíre easily 5+ years older than that.
Polysorbate80
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Reply #134 on: June 08, 2018, 07:17:02 PM

I mow with diesel Ohhhhh, I see.

I also have a mid-sized riding mower and push-mower (both gassers). You wonít need a rider unless you just want one, but donít break the bank on the pushmower.  As long as you donít let the grass get knee-high you wonít need some $1,200 beast.  Iíve been using a $450 Honda for three years with one blade sharpening and it does the trick fine.  Just make sure itís ethanol free gas as Selby said, or your carburetor will get messed up.
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Reply #135 on: June 08, 2018, 07:35:52 PM

I have been mowing with a corded lawn mower since I first started mowing the lawn as a kid.

When I bought a house with a lawn 5 years ago, I purchased one for $150 bucks that has been great. 100' extension cord is able to get the front and sides, then I move it and finish the back. All of my other yard tools (including my little snow blower) are corded electric and work good. Not having to deal with the hassles of buying/transporting/storing gasoline is great.

Fun fact: It is illegal to sell gas without at least 10% ethanol in Illinois. You guys talking about gas without ethanol confused the shit out of me for a minute.

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Polysorbate80
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Reply #136 on: June 08, 2018, 08:20:24 PM

You canít get it everywhere here either but itís not too hard to track down.  Tax-free diesel is harder to get, only a couple nearby places sell it (surprising given the size of the farming community, but then they often buy it in thousand-gallon quantities)
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Reply #137 on: June 09, 2018, 11:14:03 AM

Chimpy: plenty of places right across the CheddarCurtain sell it.
Count Nerfedalot
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Reply #138 on: June 24, 2018, 09:27:29 PM

Been loving the backyard photos, though not what I consider useless projects.  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?  So, I thought I'd show my neverending work-in-progress backyard.  The Countess and I dreamed of building a little house in the woods. Instead we ended up buying a big house in a subdivision built on a former pasture. Life is funny sometimes. So, we grew a forest around it! On our quarter-acre lot.  why so serious?

View from our patio in 2009, less than a year after we moved in. Absolutely nothing in the back yard but a 10x12 cement patio. I'm facing almost due West and this side of the house just baked in the summer. Plus an amazing amount of wind comes down into that basin behind us then funnels between our house and the one on the left. Ripped our siding off that side twice before the contractor (who lives across the street and had some of the slats land in his front yard!  awesome, for real) finally took the whole wall down and redid it with the lapping reversed and the nail gun pressure set properly.:

2010 - a couple of years into The Great Work. First we expanded the patio with retaining wall, dirt fill, pavers on sand, etc.  This shows Phase I of the temporary Great Privacy Wall. And the beginnings of our forest preserve:

Amazingly enough, those two scorched rescue birches in the foreground of the previous pic ($10 each from K-mart) survived as we see here in 2012 along with the patio extension for Phase II in progress:

Another view of The Great Work from 2012, with some of my garden beds in the background (mostly blackberry, black raspberry, some asparagus, tomatoes, flowers, etc):

Skipping ahead to 2018, many buckets of dirt, trees, pavers, rocks, lumber, and backaches later, not to mention Phase II of the temporary Great Privacy Wall. More garden beds in the foreground with herbs, tomatoes, green beans, snowpeas, cucumbers, peppers, and what I think is a pumpkin growing out of the compost bin - that thing has leaves over a foot wide and has doubled in size in the week since I took that pic. More garden stuff (lettuce, herbs, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, blackberries, black raspberries, and flowers) in beds along the fence and along the far side of the house, and fruit trees (cherry, peach, apple, pear, nectarine, apricot, and pawpaw) along both sides.

And a panorama of the view from our patio in 2018. Note the rightmost planter box has rotted away (thus the Temporary part of the privacy wall) and we are reverting to grade level plantings as the wood boxes die so we can actually see the stuff in our garden beds.  Even treated and stained lumber can't survive direct dirt contact all that long - especially when it's a planter box that gets watered regularly!

Yes, I know I'm paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?
Polysorbate80
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Reply #139 on: June 25, 2018, 11:07:44 AM

I'm super envious of the trees; they just don't grow that fast around here.  Except for poplars, which are ok for a windbreak but are otherwise giant woody weeds more than trees.  But, since we get winds of 70-100mph several times a year and the local fire department is limited in size, I didn't want to plant any large trees where they would eventually pose a danger to the house anyway.  I've got a couple Japanese cherry trees planted to the SE of the house, and a Korean maple that is rootbound in its pot I need to move to a safe spot, but that's it other than the orchard, and my outdoor christmas tree.



It's a blue spruce that may eventually reach 80' in height.  I figured that would be long after I'm dead, but the local climate suits evergreens.  It's supposed to grow 4-8 inches a year.  It started about 30" high and 8 years later is now over 12'.  I may have to buy a cherry picker to decorate the thing, although eventually I'll need something like that for the orchard anyway.



I just mowed, so it's a good time to take a photo where you can actually find the plants in there  Ohhhhh, I see.  I do the raised beds out of redwood, it's held up quite well but is expensive.  The longer one along the fence line you can barely see behind the ladder is treated lumber.  You can't likely convince the local hippies it's safe, but as long as you're not using old scavenged lumber there's not a problem.  Ag Sci lesson for the day:  it really wasn't a problem anyway EXCEPT for root vegetables planted too close to the wood.  Arsenic from the older stuff doesn't migrate horizontally through the soil far, and isn't taken up by plants unless they're lacking appropriate nutrients.  Regardless, there's no arsenic in treated lumber anymore.

Shit, I gotta think about what I've got planted in there...

Outside the fence in the lower left are Cascade and Nugget hops, and horseradish.  They're in barrels on old concrete slabs to keep from spreading; they're rather invasive.  Raspberries are along the fence in the upper left, but they're moving to old livestock feed tanks that aren't really visible on the upper right fence.  Again, they spread.

Right side is the strawberry patch, the wood sawhorse-looking things in there are supports to keep the bird netting out of the berries.  Otherwise they grow through it, and when the netting is pulled back to pick it tends to rip off the fruit as well.

The rows of bushes just above that are blueberries.  They're finally getting to be about shoulder height, much easier to pick...

The (incomplete) long planterbox I mentioned has kiwi, mulberries, and elephant garlic in it at the moment.  Kiwi and mulberries are immature, there won't be any fruit from those for quite some time.  Plus kiwi needs male and female plants, they're not self-fertile, so it depends on how the pollinators are keeping up.  It's an experiment in progress, we'll see how it turns out.  I might get some beehives to go along the far back fence.  I hate honey, but I'm sure I can give it away.

The other boxes are asparagus (gone to seed for the season), hardneck red garlic, three tomato varieties, three cucumber varieties, yard long beans, spinach (also gone to seed now), onions, shallots, some more elephant garlic I need to transplant this fall, herbs and salad stuff, golden beets, japanese turnips, tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, anaheims, and shishito peppers.  The concrete slabs on the corners of the garlic beds are to hold down the covers--after I plant the garlic, I put a chicken-wire frame over the top to keep the cats from digging in the beds.  The young garlic grows through the gaps in the wire in the spring and once it's well established I can remove the frame.  I just am too lazy to carry the 20-pound slabs back to the greenhouse.  I have a cover for the asparagus as well.

The tubs between the beds and the ladder hold grapes.  It's ridiculously hard to get grapes here, and it's not like Idaho has a wine industry to speak of.  I don't know what the ag industry is trying to protect but you can't get them shipped in from out of state, you have to find someone selling them locally and it's hard to do but I've got several varieties acclimating.  They'll go in the ground this year or next.

Next to that are the two mounds for zucchini and lemon cucumbers (and one lone rhubarb)

Behind that are all fruit trees - apple, pear, cherry (that's why the ladder is out there, they're ripening up), apricot and plum.  Should get a nice batch of greengage plum this year, they're my faves.  Yes, Sky, there are honeycrisp trees back there.
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