FML – Gardening Edition

July 15, 2019 2:35am
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Have I mentioned that I hate working on my yard???

So we got a letter or two from our HOA earlier this year about the garden in front of our house being unkempt, and so like any other parent of three working two jobs with barely any free time to catch my breath, I put it off as long as humanly possible until I finally got that last letter which basically says, “Come on, buddy – you don’t want to know what happens next if you keep ignoring us…”

And so back in March or April or something, I busted my butt sweating it out in temperatures that were only a fraction of the fiery ones we’re seeing now. I probably raked up three or four bags of leaves and acorns and old mulch (?) from that stupid garden, only to then spend another sweaty afternoon spreading ten or so bags of mulch across the reasonably barren garden that I’m forced to keep on my tiny, suburban plot.

It sucked, but once it was behind me I didn’t think much of it until a couple of weeks ago when I got not one, but two copies of the same letter from the HOA’s attorney!


This pissed me off because as far as I knew, we were done back in April when I spent more physical activity than I put in all year long slaving away in that garden, yet here was the same complaint as before – only now with the added fun of legal damages, should the HOA choose to either have someone do the work for me (I wish!) or just take me to court for further scolding and to threaten to put a lien on my house over some fucking weeds in the fucking garden.

You see, the sneaky thing about weeds is that they’re plants, so even when you do pull them, they have a tendency to just grow right back!

So to speed this story along so that I can go to bed, I’ve been fighting with this stupid garden some more in whatever hours I can find, which are pretty limited between jobs and kids and the heat and the rain and nighttime. I actually went back out tonight because it had just been too damn hot when I tried earlier, and I thought I was making some progress as I was digging a whole for one of the miscellaneous shrubberies to go into when after fighting with a root for far too long, I took a closer inspection in said dark and instead came to find out…


Tomorrow I have a call with this lawyer to answer the questions I have about this boilerplate legal threat that they sent on behalf of my HOA.

really hope that he’s nice. Or at least that he knows a thing or two about how to repair a broken sprinkler pipe.

Bamboo Closure (with Pics!)

November 7, 2015 1:21am
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I wrote about my ongoing battles with bamboo in this week’s humor column, but for a bit of added closure I wanted to share some photos that I took throughout the process. You know what they say, a picture’s worth a thousand stalks of bamboo… 😛










All in all I think I spent between 6 -8 hours across about 4 days gutting this crap out of my backyard – you can see in the first picture how it was so bad when I started that you literally couldn’t get around the corner unless you were a koala or perhaps one of the tiny lizards that we see scurrying about here in Florida!

Apparently whenever you plant bamboo, you’re supposed to put in some sort of barrier to make sure that it stays within the area that you want it … and even then I guess a lot of the time it just manages to poke right on through anyways. 

If I had a backyard that was bigger than, oh say, a sidewalk, it’s actually a pretty neat plant and would be neat to see grow into a natural privacy wall over the course of a couple of years, but when you can literally stand in between my pool cage and the fence and touch both of them at the same time, it’s just too small for such an invasive, wild plant to grow.

Also, would you believe that months earlier I first actually tried my hand at cutting this stuff down with a regular hand saw?!?!?!

This stuff is crazy, and the next time I see it coming up underneath my side of the fence, I’m poisoning the entire thing. Sorry, neighbor, but know what in the hell you’re getting into before you plant such an insane plant/tree/shrub/grass right next to your neighbor’s fence… 🙁

Garden Update – the first yield…

June 12, 2013 11:41pm
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There are actually a couple more that are looking pretty good as well – I just grabbed these because the vines they were on had nearly fallen to pieces. Plant itself isn’t doing too great these days, mainly because the sun has just been decimating it and I’m never sure when I need to water them and when I can hold off because of rain.

Tomato plant hasn’t really yielded a damn thing, but is still looking so-so … very weak on no water days, but after the latest rainstorm it looked awesome … just no actual tomatoes. I want to try getting a tomato cage for that pot like my Mom recommended – I’ve got a small trellis in there, but maybe they need something a little more formidable for them to climb!

Looking forward to seeing how these things actually taste! I’m not much of a cucumber fan, but my wife is so I’ll let her be the judge.  😕

Garden Update – We’ve got baby cukes!

May 15, 2013 1:21pm
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Having a hard time keeping everything watered lately because it’ll rain for a few days and I won’t worry about it, and then the next thing I know I look out the window and they’re all drooping because it was sweltering without a drop of rain for the day … BUT … apparently this cucumber plant is still working a little! There are maybe 2-3 of those little babies throughout the plant right now, all around maybe 3-4″ each, with lots more flowers that have little tiny ones … I’m not sure if those just need to grow or if they haven’t actually been pollinated yet.

Not much of anything on the tomato plant and it’s having a  hard time staying attached to the trellis anymore, so I’m wondering if the heat was just too much for it. I also tried starting some flowers & peppers, but promptly forgot about them and left them to fend for themselves in the terrarium, so not sure if those have much of a chance at this point, either.

But baby cukes – that’s gotta count for something!  :mrgreen:

Garden Updates – Holy Greenery, Batman!

April 20, 2013 6:02pm
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Wow, what a couple of weeks can do!!!

I don’t know what in the world happened … maybe a combination of warmer weather and actual drainage and the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve been getting lately, but things are really starting to look up in Scott’s Little Garden™ again, especially for the cucumbers that’ve gone from almost dead to gigantic leaves in just a short few weeks!

I mean, seriously – look at the size of those things… 😯


Tomatoes aren’t doing too bad, either…


Now I still don’t have any actual vegetables at this point … I’m still trying to figure out how that’s all supposed to work because I think pollination is somehow involved and I’m a little curious just how feasible that’s going to be inside of our pool cage. I mean, we leave one of the doors open 24×7 for Cleo’s needs anyways and lord knows I’ve found plenty of dragonflies that find their way in, but die trying to find their way back out … but we’ll see. That said, the cucumber plant is flowering, and from some of the pictures that I saw online this little spiky thing behind the flower may very well be a baby cucumber, so fingers crossed!


P.S. I was also kind of amused by seeing how active the tendrils are on the cucumber plant – I honestly put those trellises in the pots not really knowing how the plants were actually going to use them, or if I somehow needed to tie the plants to them as they grew taller, but sure enough, those little vines have sought out that iron frame for support like it was second nature and if anything, I’m starting to wonder if maybe I need something a lot taller for them to actually climb up!

It’s not a very good picture, but I still thought it was cool to see these things in action close-up so I wanted to share… 😉


Garden Updates – Progress?!?

April 12, 2013 5:27pm
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I do say that it looks like things are finally starting to move along once again! Apparently allowing the stagnant water to drain from the pots actually did do some good, and I’ve also learned that the holes serve to help aerate the soil as well … so there you go! On top of that, I also just casually picked a bunch of the dead leaves and pieces out of the cucumber pot last weekend and within a matter of days, it seems to be doing a whole lot better, so I guess that one was just waiting for me to cut off the dead weight so that it could focus on growth once again! 😯

I’m also starting to feel a lot more hopeful about when to expect actual edible results – I did some reading and found that tomatoes should be expected 45-75 days from transplanting, and about 4-6 weeks for cucumbers, which considering that I relocated them around the end of February would put those time frames hopefully landing somewhere at the end of April. And granted they might still need a bit of padding, especially for the cucumbers which were doing great and then got eaten prematurely, but hey, at least they’re starting to grow big, green leaves again and as far as I’m concerned, that’s probably a good thing…

In other news, I was looking through seeds while I was waiting for them to mix paint for me at Lowe’s the other day, so I guess I’m starting with some new seedlings! The relatively vacant soil on either side is red and green peppers, respectively, whereas the sprouts down the middle are some marigolds that our insurance company randomly mailed us. I’m not really big on flowers, but Sara’s not much of a green leafy fan, so I decided to toss some of these in the middle and see what they do.


I’m not really sure what I want to do with some of this stuff long term, but I suppose I’ll just wait and see what actually grows before making any pressing decisions. I wanted to try the peppers this time because I honestly don’t eat that many tomatoes and cucumbers – that just happened to be what was in the neat, little starter kit that I bought, but I do eat lots of peppers so I thought it’d be neat to grow something that I’ll actually use a bit more. Ultimately I see this becoming a battle of time and space … if it even works … because I could also see me trying onions, strawberries, maybe even some potatoes. I have no idea how much space these things take up or what I can even get away with growing in containers as opposed to the actual ground, but I suppose we’ll see where these all collectively go and then move forward from there.

I’d just really like to see some actual veggies appearing on the vines any day now – it seems like I’ve been doing this forever already!!! :mrgreen:

So as you can see in the picture below, I finally came up with a solution to Cleo gnawing away at my cucumber plants!


I like to think that it turned out pretty nice, though at 10 pounds a brick * 32 bricks * about 100 feet from the driveway to the backyard * no means to move more than one at a time, it’s definitely safe to assume that I was sweating like a bandit by the time I finally had ’em all piled up neat in that pile!

I didn’t even bother to cement them in place or anything – seems unnecessary at least for now, plus if I ever want to change things it’ll be one less thing I have to fight … but I like how it looks, and that there’s a little extra room there on the lower tier where I’ll probably eventually add two more of the smaller pots if I can ever get these other ones to actually grow…

And as for that, tomatoes are still continuing to flourish, though no actual vegetables yet. I did manage to find a small, battery-powered drill and put a couple of drainage holes in each of the pots, and a lot of really gross-looking water drained out almost immediately, so I guess only time will tell if I was too late or if there’s still a chance for recovery.  😕



Wow – I guess I haven’t really posted an update in almost a month, have I?

It’s been particularly busy, and frankly I’ve been particularly disappointed with my garden’s progress that I guess you could say that I’ve been holding out for better news. We got some pretty cold weather the last few weeks, to the point where I actually almost considered throwing a blanket over my plants to keep them warm … but I didn’t, and for a while there I was really starting to wonder if I was going to have to start from scratch because the cold had managed to kill them off.

The last week or so I think they’re starting to recover … well, the tomatoes are, but the cucumbers were subjected to a random Cleo attack and she chewed off a bunch of their leaves to the point where I’m almost wondering if I need to get something to cover them not to protect them from other wildlife, but more so to protect them from her!

Also, I learned that I think my pots are wrong because they don’t have any drainage holes in the bottoms. I kinda just wrote it off at the time when I bought them at the store and assumed that I didn’t need dishes to set underneath them due to a lack of holes, but the more I’ve read about the importance of drainage lately to avoid moldy roots or whatever, I guess maybe you’re supposed to drill them yourself when you get home???

I still need to do that – waiting for an adapter for my drill to arrive to replace the one that I lost a few months ago, but at least they appear to be recovering at least somewhat in the meantime. Not sure how much longer they should grow before creating actual vegetables, but I find it strange that the tomatoes are outpacing the cucumbers now just in terms of sheer greenery whereas three weeks ago it was pretty much reverse that … who knows, maybe tomatoes are more resilient against the cold…

…and dog…



Daily Garden Update – A New Home…

February 28, 2013 8:43pm
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I finally got some pots!  8)


And one thing’s for sure, after how much I spent at Lowe’s on pots and potting soil and a new watering can and whatever those metal things for them to climb on are called, it’s gonna be a lot of cucumbers and tomatoes before I ever end up in the positive on this whole vegetable gardening adventure!

Admittedly I’m a little nervous now to see how they take to their new environment because as you can see in the picture, they’ve definitely gone from overgrowing their previous terrarium to now being the little fish in the new dirt pond. I also really wasn’t able to separate them much because their roots were so mixed together – I cut them apart just to separate the two types of vegetables, but that was about it. Honestly, I probably put way too many seeds in the terrarium a few weeks ago in the first place … you can kind of see how they’re a little on top of each other, but I guess now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next…


That is, if we can keep Cleo from eating them along the way, too!  🙄

Daily Garden Update – Unleashed (pt. 1)

February 27, 2013 12:30pm
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I read somewhere about conditioning your plants to be transplanted, and although I think it was more referring to moving plants from indoors to outdoors, whereas I’ve kept my terrarium outside since the day that I bought it, I finally decided to just toss the lid to the side and let them spread their leaves in preparation for moving them to a bigger container.

…and mind you, I haven’t exactly been feeling the greatest, but I really need to figure something out and make that happen this week – I can’t even imagine what kind of a tangled mess their root systems must look like at this point!

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