How I Manage Weeds

Weeds are annoying and also seemingly smarter than I am.

Despite my best efforts, our backyard loves to play host to these little guys:

Picture of a Paper Mulberry Seedling

They spread by seed and by a strong shared root system. And then after a shockingly short amount of time, they become these.

Picture of a Paper Mulberry that's taller than a house

Look up. Look way up.

I try to pull the little guys up as soon as I see them, but they keep coming back, largely because of the established root system. So it’s a never ending battle with the paper mulberries.

The trespassing garden is full of these:

I mostly leave them alone because they’re pretty enough and don’t seem to aggressively invade my yard. And I think the pollinators like them.

Dandelions are pretty?

But at the Church Street House, we have these, which I think might be greenbrier:

They grow quickly and have strong tendrils that help them climb fences and trees and siding. They also have rose-like thorns. If it wasn’t for the thorns and the climbing up and under siding, I might just let them be.

But they are miserable little things. I’ve tried pulling them, but the roots are strong so I’ve rarely gotten any up by the root. Cutting them back doesn’t do much because they really do grow quickly, like one to three inches a day when the conditions are right. I’ve tried spraying them with a vinegar, salt, and soap solution. And I’ve tried spraying them with roundup, repeatedly. The only thing they’ve actually responded to is when Andrew has set the chimney starter over them after using it. Which makes me tempted to just burn them all individually, but the ground is mostly covered in wood mulch and I don’t really want to burn the whole place down.

So the best solution I’ve come up with has been to paint them and at least make them look pretty.

I’m pretty sure this is just a sign that I have lost the battle.

An Easy Irrigation System

I set up a luxury irrigation system this year and I’m pretty excited to share it with you in case you want to be inspired by me.

It’s time for a few updates on our Luxury Yard Renovation. First, when I mentioned expanding and planting my garden a couple months ago, I also mentioned that I was hoping to add some sort of irrigation system to make it easier to keep up with the watering. I have done just that.

I mangled together various Rain Bird components to build a simple drip irrigation system.

Rain Bird Faucet Connection Kit

Starting at the faucet, I attached this Faucet Connection Kit, which includes a backflow preventer, a 25 psi regulator, and a mesh filter. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to put it on a timer initially but now I’m not sure why I didn’t do it in the first place. I would save me from the times that I forget to turn the water off and accidently leave it running for 24 hours. So I’m planning to add a Timer but they’ve been out of stock the last couple times I’ve been to the store and I’ve been too lazy to order one. The other end of the connection kit is directly attached to 1/2″ Drip Irrigation Tubing.

1/2" drip irrigation tubing coil

I ran the 1/2″ tubing up the wall of our house, used a hook to hold it up, then added a 90 degree angle using 1/2″ Barbed Elbow attached to more 1/2 inch tubing. That tubing runs above our gate, then it’s caught and carried down using this Double Shepherd Hook because it was the best thing I could think of using.

Rain Bird System

From the shepherd hook, the tubing just runs to the garden, weaving in and out of the chain link.

Creativity at work

A second shepherd hook catches the tubing at the corner of the garden and carries it down to garden level.

Rain Bird System

Another 1/2″ barbed elbow is used to turn the corner and run the tubing flat along that back of corner garden box and then a final barbed elbow carries the tubing along the left side of the corner box. With just the components I mentioned so far, if I turned on the faucet, the water would run through the tubing and shoot straight out the top center of the above picture. This 1/2″ End Closure is use to fold the end back on itself to stop the water flow, much like a crimp in a hose. But then we still don’t have a useful irrigation system.

But as you can see there are smaller 1/4″ brown tubes attached to the 1/2″ black tubes. The 1/4″ tubing is actually Emitter Tubing with 6″ Spacing, meaning it has holes every 6 inches that let water out. The 1/4″ tubing attaches to the 1/2″ tubing using these 1/4″ Barbed Elbows. And the ends of the 1/4″ tubing are plugged using these 1/4″ Closure Goof Plugs. The 1/4″ tubing is held in place in the garden using a few Galvanized Stakes.

Rain Bird Drip Irrigation

Since my garden boxes are tiered, I cut small holes in the frame to allow the tubing to run through it, rather than having to drape over it.

Rain Bird Drip Irrigation

Overall the system works pretty well. I might consider adding a few sprinkler heads or something next year, depending on what the plants seem to want but at this point the main problem with my garden seems to be that I was too lazy to put up netting or fencing this year so critters keep digging up my seeds and snacking on my plants.

Planning a Kitchen Garden

I’ve expanded my garden and am sharing some details about what I’m planting where this year.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In my post last year about Phase Two of our Luxury Yard Renovation, I shared the small raised bed garden that I had built and told you that I planned to add onto it this year. Well I’ve done just that.

Unfortunately a few of the boards I bought are a little too thick for some reason so I’m going to have to trim them down but for now, they’re sitting horizontally around the back box. But they do give you a bit of an idea of what it will all look like when it’s complete, since my plan is to add horizontal boards on top around the entire perimeter to be used as bench seating.

Each of the boxes is four feet by four feet so I put together a garden plan that is perfect for an indecisive person who can’t decide what to grow.

I included some information about what I’d be planting in other parts of the yard so here’s a quick snap shot of some of those areas to refresh your memory.

The Trespassing Garden
Some planters
Front walk and more planters

Along with the plan, I broke down when I needed to plant what.

I missed starting some of the seeds on schedule so I have the option of either just starting them a little later, or buying seedlings from the farmers market or getting them from friends.

And I also have a longer document with notes to remember about each type of plant.

This document includes tips about companion planting, spacing, timing, supports, pest management, fertilization, and more. This document is actually what I used to come up with the layout and schedule in the first place.

I’m going to have to figure out some sort of irrigation system since keeping up with the watering by hand was a little much last year and I have even more space this year, so that’ll be another project in the next week or two.

Are you planting a garden this year?

Fun Fluff 22

Garden ideas, diy skills, cute food, and how to safely use a public bathroom.

Hello!

I finally submitted our Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) application to build a shed and front walkway! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

I just stumbled on this list of easy perennials which may come in handy for choosing plantings to line the new, eventual walkway.

The interior of the Downtown Luxury Slum was a hot mess when we bought it so it didn’t seem worth trying to preserve any of the plaster walls. But I’m hopeful to one day own a house that needs some plaster repair and this tutorial makes it look doable.

I’m loving this exterior reveal. It looks like it fits perfectly in the neighborhood now.

This project feels like a level of artistic that I might be capable of and dang proud of if if turned out.

Should you use public bathrooms during the pandemic?

tldr:

  • no
  • Toilet plume leaves potentially infectious particles in the air for about a minute after each flush, and then on surfaces until they are cleaned and sanitized.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Choose larger bathrooms with better air circulation.
  • Wait at least 1 minutes before entering a stall after someone else.
  • Do not pee on the toilet seat. (Aim for the target in the middle of the circle; it’s easiest to hit if you sit.)
  • Put the lid down BEFORE flushing if there is one. This contains the toilet plume.
  • Run away from automatic flushes.
  • Touch as few surfaces as possible with your hands; use toilet paper or paper towels to touch things.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Sanitize your hands if you touch something after washing.

And finally, I’ve been sorting through articles and blog posts that I’ve saved to read later. And I have things saved to “read later” from 2010. So it’s been pretty entertaining. I found the press release saying Starbucks would be getting free wifi in all their stores. I can barely remember a time when that wasn’t the reality. Anyway, here’s some fun pictures from a blog that no longer exists, but used to be awesome.

That’s it for this week,

Diana

Our Trespassing Garden

In addition to the three main phases of our luxury yard renovation, I’ve got a little side project that I’d like to share for the public record.

I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

In North Carolina, the law is such that if a person (let’s call him Steven) uses his neighbor’s land for 20 years, Steven will have a legal claim for an easement by prescription on that land. In order for this to happen, Steven’s use of the land must be continuous, exclusive, visible, open, notorious, and without the owner’s approval. After 20 years, Steven could get this easement recorded with his title, granting him and any future owners of his property, a nonpossessory right to use the land.

Alternatively, Steven could actually gain possession of his neighbor’s land. The requirements for this are approximately the same from what I understand, other than that Steven must also intend to claim the land as his own. After 20 years of use, he could file an action to quiet title in court, which could grant him the title to the property.

Finally, if Steven has a faulty document that says he has title to the land (a fake title or deed), and he uses the land in a way that is continuous, exclusive, visible, open, notorious, and without the owner’s approval for 7 years, he could file an action to quiet title in court, which could grant him the title to the property.

Introducing the Trespassing Garden

Immediately to the east of our property, there is 6ish foot strip of land that is owned but not maintained by our neighbor.

Hot mess of weeds

This strip of land happens to have a driveway curb to the road which our contractors used to drive up onto our front lawn throughout the initial renovation which started in September of 2017. I have been mowing a 6ish foot strip of their front lawn pretty much since we moved in because they always just left a strip of tall grass and weeds between our front lawn and the rest of their front lawn. Then I started consistently storing our trash bins at the back of the grassy area in this strip about 9 months ago. And in March, I started clearing the mess of weeds that runs along the other side of our fence in the backyard because their weeds have been making it hard to keep our own back lawn free of weeds.

Clearing the weeds

Another characteristic of this strip of land is that it contains two wooden posts, one of which has a No Trespassing sign on it. I’m not really sure what the point of the other post is. I also dug up a No Trespassing sign when clearing the weeds in the back.

No Trespassing sign

And I’ve started planting a garden in the back because I had more seedlings than my garden had space for.

Trespassing garden

So I think my use of the strip of land has been pretty exclusive, visible, open, notorious, and without the owner’s approval. Now I just need to make sure my use remains continuous for a few more years. And, ideally, I need to find someone that can make me a fake title that says I own the land so that by sometime between September of 2024 or maybe as late as March of 2027, I can go to court with an action to quiet title. This will give me legal ownership of the land by adverse possession. Muah ah ah ah ah.

So if you know someone that makes fake property titles, please let me know.

I am not a lawyer.

PS. Here’s some background with Phase One, Phase Two, and Phase Three of our Luxury Yard Renovation

Fun Fluff 12

Given the continuously changing nature of this situation, we have a few things to occupy your mind and time for a few minutes. No dreadfully long articles this time, I promise.

I’m trying to decide where I’ll donate the money the federal government is going to send me. Local businesses, food workers, food banks …. or my usual standby charities?

For if you’re feeling deprived of nature, travel, and culture like I am.

For if you want to own a piece of American history.

For how to build an emergency vegetable garden.

For when you need inspiration for how to restore the staircase in your new historic pink house.

Catch your breath.

For when you need help deciding where to explore first when this is all over (after Easter, I hear).

Stay safe and sane,

Diana