The Impatient Gardener: April 2013

30 April 2013

Our first DIY fail

Maybe I got too confident about our DIY ability. After all, I've jumped in with both feet to projects I had no idea would work, we installed our bedroom floors, I laid a huge stone path through our yard and built stacked-stone retaining walls and I've even learned how to do some electrical work. Our theory on when to do things ourselves and when to let the pros do the work usually involves deciding if we can do as good (or better, which is often the case) of a job as they can for less money and a realistic amount of time.

So it is humbling to tell you that we have suffered our first official DIY failure with a project that is frequently DIY'd: crown molding.

Our cabinet maker put the crown molding around the top of the cabinets but we told him (with an air of overconfidence) that we'd take care of putting it up in the rest of the room. We read a lot of online tutorials, including this one at Young House Love and another at Sawdust and Embryos. We even bought the Kreg Crown Pro jig (which is now shorter thanks to a misfire with the saw).

After a lot of reviewing of tutorials and reading the jig instructions, we started measuring and cutting. We have two sides to the kitchen, which is divided by a beam down the middle, so we started with the "easy" side where it would be just four pieces of molding and four inside corners. The other side involves a lot more corners because of the cabinets and coping instead of mitered corners.

This is as far as we got. One piece of crown molding that is ultimately going to have to be removed and recut thanks to me cutting the corners incorrectly. 
First we did some sample cuts and spent about an hour trying to wrap our brains around the upside down, backwards and inside out angles involved in crown molding. Once we FINALLY got that down (we had the jig set to the wrong spring angle), we cut. I was operating the saw. Unfortunately I assumed that pushing the bottom part all the way one way or the other would cut a 45-degree angle. Unfortunately I didn't notice that the saw actually went PAST 45 degrees, to about 47 or 48 degrees. I did notice this after we made about three or four cuts. We put up two pieces of crown, attached but just a couple brad nails in case they needed adjusting, and called it quits for the weekend (this was two weekends ago).

When we picked it up this past weekend, we discovered that the two pieces we put up would both have to be recut (I thought I might have screwed up the setting on the saw but we weren't sure). Then there was the issue of adjusting it to fit with its neighbor piece. I suspect that in a house with straight walls would not be as challenging to install crown molding in.

I'm certain we could have figured it out had we persevered. We might have needed another piece of crown molding, but we would have gotten it eventually. But at some point we realized this was in no way fun. And there are times when the phrase "Life's too short ..." comes into play. At some point your frame of mind and your precious weekend time becomes more important than whatever it will cost to pay someone to do this for us.

So we've got a few people to call to bail us out and we'll pay them probably more than we should. But in the end we'll be happier people for having done that. And that's worth its weight in gold.

Because as Kenny Rogers famously sung, sometimes you just have to know when to walk away. And I'm OK with that.

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26 April 2013

Food for the winter-weary soul

When all else fails, at least there is this:

It may be short in stature and damn near buried in an uncleaned garden bed, but the sight of this little hellebore (I don't know which one it is, unfortunately) did wonders for my soul this week.

The weatherman tells us it will actually feel like spring here and I can't wait to spend a good part of the weekend in the garden. I hope you will enjoy a great weekend in the garden too!

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25 April 2013

Slip slidin' away to trash organization heaven

You know how sometimes I publish a little to-do list that shows you what I'm all working on and what's been finished? I am going to spare you that because reading it would take up FAR too much of your time. I have balls in the air, folks. Lots and lots of them.

I feel like I have about 20 projects that are this close to being finished enough to show you, but very few are actually finished. I sort of hate that feeling.

I did finish up one small project last night though.

As you know, I have an almost unnatural love of gadgety things and you'll find more than a few of them in the new kitchen. I am all about smarter storage and part of that is finding things that come to you.

Even though people swear by them, we just weren't willing to give up an entire cabinet for a pull-out trash can. At the same time I have developed an obsession with things on sliders, especially if they have a soft close feature that sucks them up the rest of the way.

A lot of companies make slide-out shelves, baskets and storage solutions that are easy to retrofit into your cabinets and although we had some things built in by our cabinet maker, we opted to do the undersink storage ourselves.

Even though we have a 36-inch cabinet for the (monster) sink, by the time you stick plumbing and a garbage disposal in there, there's not a lot of room left. The garbage disposal, which is a first for us in this house thanks to the fact that Insinkerator now makes one that is designed to work for septic systems (I'm not sure if that's just a marketing ploy or a real thing but I read good reviews of it so we went for it), actually takes up much more room than I had planned but I'm so happy to not have to clean out the drain basket every day.

Originally I ordered a two-can pull-out unit for the garbage and recycling, but when it arrived I realized there was no way it was going to fit so unfortunately I had to send it back. That was a rather expensive lesson in making sure to measure really well before you order something. When they say 22-3/8 inches, they mean it. Plan B was to order a single can pull-out trash basket (I believe it is made by Rev-a-Shelf) and move the recycling to the pantry.

Ahhh, a fresh, clean cabinet. Other than all those holes in the back. Clearly someone was looking for a stud and had a hard time finding one.
There are always the occasional misses when it comes to hitting the garbage can and I know from experience that cabinets that house garbage cans can get pretty grungy. I wanted to line the bottom of the cabinet with something that would be wipeable and not easily stained. The old kitchen had a piece of leftover vinyl flooring in the bottom of the cabinet but it curled up at the edges creating an even bigger mess. They sell plastic trays for this purpose but I discovered that they are pretty stiff and meant to be installed before the counters (and presumably the plumbing) are. They are also upwards of $50 which seems pretty darn steep to me.

I thought it would be so easy to find cheap rubber matting to cut to size and slide in there, but believe it or not, the only thing I could find was black, and that seemed so, um, industrial. Then I thought about peel-and-stick vinyl tiles. I was able to pick up six of them for 99 cents each at Home Depot.

Everything laid out before sticking it all down. Looks just like marble doesn't it? Right? 
 I installed them the same way you would install tile: with the main tile you see centered and a full tile. That was the front center, so I had to trim down the tiles in either side of it by about a quarter inch. The tiles in back had to be cut to fit around various plumbing bits and pieces. I had no idea how easy these tiles would be to cut. Originally I started with a utility knife but I made the last cuts with a regular old scissors and that worked just fine as well.

They cut easily with a utility knife, but I found later that a scissors worked equally well. And yes, once again I was doing a project during cocktail hour.
But I may or may not have been really careful about making square cuts. I'll be honest. I was too lazy to go to the basement and get the square so I just used another tile to make straight lines and I was more successful in some cases than I was in others and some tiles have small gaps where they butt together. I didn't want any crumbs or bits of dirt getting in there and being permanently gross, so I used a clear silicone caulk between all the joints just to seal the whole thing up.

Everything all stuck down with the joints caulked with clean silicone caulk.
Installing the pull-outs was actually easier. The garbage pull-out came with a paper template, so we just had to decide where we wanted to mount it, tape the template down and pre-drill our screw holes. This unit is actually meant to attach to the cabinet door, so you remove it from its hinges and pull the entire door out to access the bin, but we didn't want to do that, so we mounted it back about an inch so you'll open the door and then pull out the bin.

The garbage can that came with the unit just barely fits under the sink, but it fits nonetheless.

On the other side I mounted a little pullout to hold cleaning supplies and the roll of paper towel, which we decided we didn't want cluttering up the counter anymore. (Funny story: Cabinet maker extraordinaire Ryan actually devised a very cool gizmo to make the paper towel roll actually fit up into an upper cabinet so you wouldn't see it but could easily access it from below, but Mr. Much More Patient nixed it because he didn't want to give up the space in the cabinet, which I understand). We don't have children, so we can safely keep cleaning supplies under the sink but I understand this is a no-no if you have kiddos. I did make a bit of a mistake in mounting this one, which was equally easy to mount even though it didn't come with a template. I mounted it a little farther back in the cabinet, not realizing that when we pulled it out it would be still half in the cabinet. We decided to live with it like that for awhile to decide if it really bothers us before we drill four new holes and fill the old ones.

All organized and geeked out!
We're loving the pull-out trash, which is a huge improvement over the old way, which pretty much involved pulling the entire bin out anytime we were cleaning up and the geek in me is quite content with having all our cleaning supplies corralled on the other side. And there is still a little room in the middle for the dishwashing detergent.

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22 April 2013

Me ... in a magazine. Check it out.

I was excited to be featured in the spring issue of Proven Winners free online magazine Proven Beauty.

Click on the photo to see the online magazine Proven Beauty

If you want to know a little more about me and see a couple of my picks for my garden must-haves, check out the magazine here  or click on the photo above (I'm on page 12-13).

Make sure you sign up for a subscription so you don't miss an issue of this free magazine.

On the list for this summer: get a few photos of me actually in the garden!

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19 April 2013

A tree that might be worth the chance

I've been spending some time doing lots of research on trees, which is an area I'm less familiar with, because we're about to lose two very special trees. The tree cutters were supposed to come this week but the weather has kept them away.

A March snowstorm took out half of this Cedar leaving it angled precariously close to our house. The rest will have to go.
We'll be taking out the rest of the cedar that was badly damaged (and threatening to eat our house) during a late winter snowstorm as well as the giant birch that is sickly and has needed to be removed for years. I'm especially upset about losing the latter and I'll be honest and tell you I might even shed a tear over that one. 

I will really miss this birch tree.
I have a personal goal to plant a new tree somewhere on our property every time we take one out. Part of the beauty of our property is the hundreds of mature trees and I want to make sure that future owners will be able to enjoy them as well. 

We are having the birch stump ground out so we'll be able to replant in almost the same space. It's a special spot—the main focal point in the back yard—and we've enjoyed having a large three there so we're hoping to replace that with something prominent. I'm not sure what that will be yet. I'd love to plant an American beech (Fagus grandifolia) there because I love the other beeches growing on our property and we are in one of the few places in Wisconsin where they will thrive. But beeches are notoriously difficult to propagate in a nursery situation so it's very difficult to find one of any size.

We're going to wait to decide if we need an evergreen for screening purposes where the cedar will be removed. If we do, it won't be another cedar. The deer adore cedar and there isn't a cedar tree in our neighborhood (which happens to be called Cedar Beach) that has foliage below 7 feet. This is fine for mature cedars because they flourish above the deer-eating line, but it is impossible to grown them big enough to get to that point without a deer attack. Deer can destroy a cedar that's 10 feet or less in one night.

If we don't need the screening, I think this might be an opportunity for a small specimen tree. The location is just out the living room window so it has to be something special.

Venus dogwood
One tree I'm very interested in and actively trying to find is a Venus dogwood. I first read about this tree on Deborah Silver's blog a few years ago and when I read a mention of it elsewhere the other day it sparked a mental note I had saved that this was a tree to look into should I ever have a place to put one. 

First of all, I love dogwoods. Most have a lovely layered branching habit that to me is the perfect combination of found-in-nature casual rambling and strict Japanese-style pruning (if such a combination is possible). Secondly, some, including Cornus kousa and Cornus florida have beautiful four-petaled flowers. Unfortunately they are also prone to a disease called anthracnose, which eventually kills the tree.

Check out the size of those flowers! Dr. Elwin Orton showing off his tree. Rutgers photo
Well guess what Venus, a hybrid developed by Dr. Elwin Orton at Rutgers University, has going for it? No disease issues. Huge flowers (up to 4 inches, they claim). Bloom that lasts for maybe as much as four weeks (at least it does for Deborah who lives and gardens in Detroit). Fall color. Fast growing. Pretty bark. Twenty feet wide and tall at maturity. What's not to love? You can see why Deborah calls it, "the most spectacular white flowering tree on the planet." High praise. 

There are questions with hardiness. It is listed as hardy to zone 6 in some places and zone 5 in others. We are technically considered zone 5b ever since the USDA updated the zone map last year, but I'm wary of that qualification. It only takes one bad winter to cause major damage. Deborah says she has planted 80 of them in the last several years and hasn't lost one, but Detroit is definitely a warmer zone than us.

So if I go down this road and can find a Venus dogwood, it will be with a bit of trepidation and finger crossing. Sometimes that's road that a gardener can't help but take.

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17 April 2013

Weed supression in 15 minutes or less

We've had just about two straight weeks of rain here, but I'm not complaining. For one, we need to fill up Lake Michigan which hit its all-time historical low water mark this winter and for another it could be so much worse. North Dakota got so much snow earlier this week that the federal government gave residents of the state an extension on filing their taxes!

But the sun shone yesterday and I was thrilled to have a little bit of time after work to do a very quick project outside. Other than the raised vegetable gardens, all of the gardening I've done is on the house side of the small creek that runs through our property so right now the area just on the other side of the creek is a bit ratty. I've done exactly nothing to that area and I don't have plans to do anything anytime soon. I could see myself transplanting some woodland plants or ferns when I have extras to spare, but it will be awhile before that happens.

But I'm sick of the weedy mess over there, so in approximately 15 minutes, I did what I think is the easiest way to reclaim a weedy area. This is also my favorite way to start a new garden bed, but it works equally well to just spruce up an area too.

In this case I just used some of the cardboard boxes we had laying around, flattened them and covered them up with mulch. I didn't have enough cardboard to cover the whole area, so as I get more I'll add it to fill in those spaces. Normally I would follow up with a good dousing of water with the hose to keep things from blowing around (you could also use a few rocks if you were doing it in a particularly windy area), but I knew we were due to get a deluge over the next couple days so I let Mother Nature handle that part.
Cardboard weed cover

Weed cover with mulch

I have also used this method with newsprint (or newspaper). I usually layer the newspaper quite thickly, maybe with six or seven layers and if there is any wind at all using newspaper can get frustrating quickly. That's why I prefer to use newsprint end rolls. This is what is left on the end of a giant roll of newsprint when they print newspapers. If you have a newspaper printing operation nearby call and ask if they have end rolls: most give them away for free because otherwise they have to pay to recycle them. I run the roll back and forth until I have the number of layers I want in a section that is about 15 or 20 feet long (or less if you're working with a smaller space) and then lay it down in one big section. I prefer to use the newspaper or newsprint method for beds I plan to plant in within a year because it breaks down more quickly than cardboard. For areas where you're just trying to keep the weeds at bay, the cardboard does a pretty good job.

It doesn't look like much yet, but in a few weeks the mulch won't look so new and it will be nice not to look at a pile of weeds when we walk across the little bridge across the creek.

In other news, I was just thinking the other day that it's time to start brainstorming ideas for this summer's containers, and then I chided myself for even thinking that when I still have the containers "planted" for winter.

Winter container in spring

I took these two shots this morning when I left for work. The bad news is that there is still some snow left. The good news is that not too long ago that stake was buried.
In my defense, there is still snow in my yard so I think I get a pass. Maybe.

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11 April 2013

Pinterest Puh-lease! Pinterest tips you'll want to ignore

Isn't Pinterest just the best? So many ideas! So many pretty pictures! So many great tips!

Except, um, when the tips aren't really tips at all.

There are some hilarious blogs that feature Pinterest tips gone wrong and sometimes it's because people just don't have the crafting/cooking skill of the person who originally created the tip/recipe/craft to begin with. But then there are some that are just plain wrong.

Unfortunately I'm finding more and more of these in the gardening realm. It's gotten to the point where I am pretty cynical about most of the "tips" I find there unless they link back to a really reputable source.

So I thought it might be fun to bust a few Pinterest Gardening myths. I'm not going to take credit for this idea. Spring Meadow Nursery's Stacey Hirvela, who I follow on Pinterest, started a board for gardening tips gone wrong and it got thinking about what other myths might be a load of bunk.

Pinterest says: Plant egg shells with your tomatoes to give them a calcium boost.

The Truth: Don't bother. First of all, most soil is not deficient in calcium to begin with. Secondly, it takes years for the calcium in egg shells to break down and by then your tomato plants will be long gone, since like most vegetables, they are annuals. I don't think throwing some egg shells in the hole with your tomato plants will hurt as it's sort of a method of composting, but why not throw them in the compost bin to break down there?


Pinterest says: Use Epsom salt for everything from greening up your lawn to growing great tomatoes to having oustanding tomatoes.

The Truth: I think the Epsom salt lobby has an active PR department. Seriously, I don't understand how epsom salt became the thing for the garden. (Upon further review there actually is an Epsom Salt Industry Council, so I guess that's how.)

Espom salt is magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt will only do anything for your plants if your soil is lacking in magnesium (and most soil isn't). The only way to know is to do a soil test, and the best way to do that is to contact your local university extension, most of which do soil testing for a very small fee. But let's be honest, most gardeners don't do soil tests. Magnesium deficiency does happen and Epsom salt can help fix it, but that is in intensively produced crops, not what is happening in your home garden.

The problem with all the Epsom salt misinformation is not just that it's not going to help your plants. It can hurt them too. Spraying Epsom salt on foliage can cause leaf scorch. And magnesium build-up in soil (which can happen despite what Pinterest and the Epsom salt industry says) has shown to cause root rot in some plants, according to Linda Chalker-Scott, a Washington state horticulturist who wrote a paper on using Epsom salts in gardening.

According to the paper, "One researcher (finds that) 'Magnesium residues from fertilizer unused by plants accumulate in the topsoil and are not rapidly removed by leaching.' Unfortunately, this evidence is generally ignored in advertising literature and application instructions.'

The use of Epsom salt in growing roses is often touted as helping everything from basal cane growth to lush foliage, but again, there are no studies that show this to be true.

And if you want to use Epsom salt on your lawn, as Pinterest will also tell you to do, if you have an intensively managed lawn, like a golf course or a pasture where cows are constantly munching, you might see an immediate improvement by applying Espsom salt. That's because those types of grasses are likely to be deficient in magnesium. The effect, however, will be short lived. Your normal, average back yard lawn, though, probably has no magnesium issues and all you'll accomplish by putting Epsom salt on it is looking a bit silly in front of the neighbors.

Basically, it comes down to this: Epsom salt will only help if your soil is deficient in magnesium. That's pretty rare, but if it is, it might be because you're overdoing it on the fertilizer. A lot of specialized fertilizers, like tomato fertilizer, are high in potassium, and potassium affects a plant's ability to take up magnesium. Nutrient imbalances in the soil are not a good thing.

Use Epsom salt to soak your feet, not your garden.

Pinterest says: Put a diaper in your hanging baskets to help them retain moisture.

The truth: Um, gross! Is it just me or is this a really disgusting tip? I can just imagine pulling that thing out the container at the end of the season. Ick. OK, but let's get onto why this is not just gross, but also an all around bad idea.

Pots do dry out and hanging containers are particularly prone to it. One way to limit how quickly they dry out is to be aware of what kind of container you use. Wire containers lined with coconut husk mats are beautiful (and my favorite for hanging baskets) but they dry out really quickly. Using a plastic container can help a lot and if your hanging basket is going to drape down and completely cover the container, you'll never see the difference.

You can also add hydrogel crystals, which help hold water in the soil that plants can draw from. Yes, there is something similar in diapers, but the difference is that when they are trapped in a diaper, the plants can't draw moisture from them.

Remember drainage is good and if you stick a diaper in there, you will be creating a big plastic dam. Basically nothing is going to drain out of the bottom of that pot. And then the plants' roots will rot and then you will have a dead container planting. And one very soggy diaper.

What do you think? Have you found pins that you know are just plain wrong on Pinterest? Is it starting to bug you as much as it bugs me?

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05 April 2013

Two sure signs of spring

A happy Friday to you all!

There is indeed reason to be joyous this Friday. The painters were to come this morning to finish up a few last touch ups on the cabinets which means that I will spend a good part of the weekend organizing what I can while we wait for drawer fronts and cabinet doors. I can't tell you how nice it will be to reduce the number of boxes spread throughout the house. When we bought the house I was in a hurry to get unpacked because Mr. Much More Patient left for about four months the day after we moved in and I just wanted things put away, so I sort of threw things in drawers and they stayed there for 11 years. Now I have the luxury of thinking things through a bit more.

The even better news is that yesterday I came across two sure signs of spring.

Those are daffodils, folks. But not just daffodils poking up. Those are BUDS! Sure it's only one small clump that is always the earliest to show its face, but who cares. There is life out there.

The other sign of spring was this.

The first spray painting project of the year! I'm not sure what is up with me and painting things black on the spur-of-the-moment but it has happened again. I've been thinking that I needed to pull a little black over to the other side of the kitchen to balance out the botanical prints and the door. The light was down for painting and the outside temperature was 52 degrees, a whopping two degrees above the minimum temperature for spray painting.

Of course I'll show you more on that later, but for now, let's all revel in two signs of spring as reliable as a robin searching for a worm.

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04 April 2013

Don't count your chickens (or put away your dishes) ...

No matter how much we try to keep our expectations in check, no matter how much we learn from experience, there are bound to be bumps in the road in any project of good size.

Our kitchen mini renovation has been no exception. As much as we hoped we'd be in a state of kitchen flux for a small amount of time, things did not go as planned.

Earlier this week I took advantage of April Fool's Day to pull your leg a little bit about the kitchen renovation. Painting the cabinets a luminous shade of lavender was a joke. But I wasn't kidding about painting the cabinets. 

Long story short, there was a problem with the paint. Honestly this can be chalked up to just an unfortunate situation. The painter used a product he wasn't familiar with. The rep at Sherwin Williams (an industrial coatings rep for our area) apparently failed to mention that the product he was using has the rather strange characteristic of changing colors rather dramatically with additional coats. It wasn't until about halfway through the first day of a difficult installation (our house is old and wonky so there is not a 90-degree corner or a flat wall to be found) that we realized there was a major problem with the paint. Some of it wasn't applied evenly and there were at least three different shades of white (depending on how many coats were applied) on the cabinets. Even at a glance, the problem was obvious.

Anyway, the only way to fix the problem is to start from scratch. So even though the cabinets have been more or less installed for two weeks, this is what is going on this week.

A different paint crew has come in to sand, prime and paint the cabinet boxes in place. The doors and drawer fronts are at the paint shop and will take a little longer to get back.

No it's not optimal and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, but it's not the end of the world. It's fixable and the important thing is to get them fixed so they are right. The good news is that it doesn't look like the repainting has delayed our countertop installation. The new painter encouraged us to hold off on installing the counter until the painting was finished and since I've not received the call that they are ready to install, I guess no change was needed on that front.

I am really looking forward to putting everything away in the new cupboards though. It will be nice to cook a meal without having to go on a hunt through a room full of boxes.

We have been able to function pretty well in our half-finished kitchen. We cut our laminate countertops into three pieces and knocked off the front edge (that would have stuck down in front of our drawers) and just set them back on the counter. We hooked the old sink back up temporarily and got the dishwasher and range going as well. That's pretty luxurious compared to some kitchen renovations where people find themselves doing dishes in the bathroom for weeks.

We just cut the laminate countertops into pieces and laid them on top the new cabinets.
We took off the edge of the counter so the drawers (when the drawer fronts were still attached) wouldn't bang into it.
The update from this morning was that the painting would be finished today so we will at least be able to get to the fridge by tonight. And then we can start putting things back together. Again.

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03 April 2013

The ever-expanding garden

I have been debating expanding my vegetable gardening space. Again. It's funny how gardening works. You start with a garden of a certain size and you can't imagine ever needing more space. Until you do. And then you add another garden or make the first one bigger and you think, "Well now I'm set for life." Until you're not.

The main vegetable garden that we built four years ago offers 70 square feet of gardening space. Given that there are only two of us (plus two dogs who love whatever veggies we throw their way), that's a good amount of space. But those first two years the zucchini took over at least a quarter of one side (and made walking past it very unpleasant). So a couple years ago when I added a raised bed outside of the enclosed veggie garden, the zucchini got kicked out there. And since I had to limit that bed to things that critters wouldn't eat, I also threw some onions in there. Somewhere along the line I realized that I really like growing the food we eat.

Well it turns out I love growing onions and one zucchini variety of squash isn't enough for me. So I've been thinking about expanding again. Keep in mind, all of this is in addition to the plots my mom and I share at the community garden in the next town over where we grow mostly tomatoes because in early summer it can be 15 degrees warmer over there than it is in our home gardens near Lake Michigan.

Rather than end up with a lot of little raised beds all over the place, I started thinking I might just buy a slightly bigger one so we are set on garden space for awhile. The worst thing about adding a raised bed, at least for me, is soil. It takes more soil and compost than you might think to fill up a raised bed and every time I add a garden I think, "Oh I'll just pick up a few bags of topsoil and throw in some homemade compost" but that's never enough. Plus I hate buying compost, soil and mulch for the garden by the bag. All that plastic is disturbing to me. Almost equally as disturbing, however, is the delivery charge for bulk goods (usually about $100 by me) and the massive pile of stuff that sits in the driveway while I get around to putting it in the garden.

So that's why I've been spending an inordinate amount of time gazing at the veggie garden situation, and walking around drawing out beds in the snow (which, I'm happy to report, is finally melting) trying to decide if I really need more vegetable gardening space and if I really want to deal with getting the soil to fill a new one up.

If do go for it though, I'm thinking about getting an L-shaped one like this.

So what about you? Do you find yourself constantly adding gardens or seeking out more gardening space?

By the way, in case you missed it, Monday's lavender kitchen cabinet post was a total April Fool's joke. But there is something unexpected happening in the kitchen. Hopefully an update on that tomorrow.

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01 April 2013

A kitchen about face

You've probably noticed that I've been a bit quiet with updates to the progress in the kitchen and I thought I'd show you why there's been a bit of radio silence.

The cabinets were installed over the past week and overall we are thrilled with the storage they are going to provide. But when I looked around I realized that something was amiss. All this time I thought I wanted an all-white kitchen. I thought it would be bright and fresh and clean and wonderful. But when it was all in I realized what it was really going to be was boring and sterile.

We lived with it like that for a few days but by Saturday I knew we were not going to be happy with the kitchen the way it was. So I took a drastic step. I started painting our brand new kitchen cabinets.

And I wanted to go as far from white as I could without making the kitchen heavy with a dark color. Light and bright is what was called for.

The winner?

Benjamin Moore's Wishing Well, a luminous lavender.

Benjamin Moore Wishing Well.
 I only have the wall by the refrigerator finished and it still needs a second coat, but I have to tell you, I'm thrilled with how it is looking. I know it will be a lot of work to repaint everything, but it just feels right.

I think we'll probably leave the ceiling white, but we're thinking about possibly changing it to a very light aqua with just a hint of color. What do you think?

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