Developing A Green Thumb...

As a kid, I hated gardening. I hated helping my mom planting flours, or helping grandma attending to the vegetable patch. I repeatedly killed all the flowers in my room because I simply wasn't interested in them.

Well, I guess I grew out of that.

Last year, my wife and myself bought and renovated a rather old building. My mum used to own it before selling it to me. Before that, my grandma owned it, and her mother before that. She actually raised my grandma in this very house.

The problem was - the last couple of years it was rented out - to some very bad renters. Not only did they turn the house into shambles, they also terrorized the neighbours. Especially the 91-year-old nice lady with the pacemaker living right next door. But that's a different story entirely.

As much as the house was in shambles, the yard wasn't off much better. Before we moved to renovate, the yard was a jungle, overgrown with bushes and grass that was 2 meters high - and I am not exaggerating. We had to clean it before we could build our porch. It was like one of Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck-Jokes. "You might be a redneck if you mow your lawn and find a car". We didn't find a car, but we did find multiple rims, a busted TV set and a dishwasher.

I need to explain something at this point. I live in a town in South Germany. This is a very close community. It used to be an old worker settlement, clay brick buildings, multiple units standing in a row, each living unit seperated by a single wall, each backyard only separated by a low fence from the other. That being said: If one back yard looks like crap, the entire neighborhood looks like crap. Lacking curb appeal, especially since our building it the first building of this row. The neighbors never said anything about it. They didn't need to. After all they've been through, I wouldn't stand for them being accused to live in a bad looking neighborhood.

We cut it all down at first. During construction the backyard was a working area - obviously.

Well, this year, we started working on it. The yard was still overgrowing - we had cut most of it down, but the roots were still in the ground, and still growing. So, after we finished construction, we tried to control it by spraying weed killer all over the yard last november. Didn't do much, as soon as the snow was gone everything was sprouting wildly again.

Well, I knew - the only way of getting all the crap out was actually going to dig it all out. So, on the first weekend of march me and my wife went to do some major work. My wife we built a small flower patch from some of the old building bricks that were to be thrown out after we broke through the back building wall to put a larger back door in. I went ahead and dug the garden up. We pulled like 5 120l-garbage bags of roots out that day. It was a lot.

Then came the seeding of the grass. This one happened shortly after.

Now, we have a more respectable looking yard with a nice lawn.

I found out - during the entire process - that working in the garden is a lot of work. But it is more fun than sitting inside on a beautiful day.

Right now, after mowing the lawn for the 3rd time, I sit here on my porch, looking over the small back yard and enjoying the sight. It was hard work, but it looks good. My neighbors complimented and thanked me multiple times. And I am nursing a farmer's tan.
Kletti Kletti
May 14, 2012