You Say Illegal, I say Tomato!

October 1st

Matt cooks

Matt has an expression he says regularly that cracks me up. “Ah, just take a teaspoon of cement and harden the f*** up already.” If there were ever a week to have a foreigner living in my home, entertaining me with his crazy antics, this is the week. Last night’s drama included having to select between House and 90210 — apparently both favorites. (Although he felt like a “proper pervert” after I told him how old some of those 9-0 girls are in reality.) Afterward we both sat on the couch trying not to laugh at our giant bowls of ice cream while we watched Biggest Loser. I am beginning to think my lack of crafting and lack of room in my waistband has something to do with my newfound after-dinner television time. Yikes.

Mmm... dinner

Matt’s creation — some pasta/bacon/tomato/cheese casserole that was excellent. I needed a statin afterward, but I didn’t have to cook.
We are slowly transitioning from house guest to roommate mode in that I no longer blush when I had him the trash and point toward the door. He’s clean, funny and a pretty good cook. I’m keeping him around for a bit. {And just to avoid these email right off the bat — NO. No. He isn’t my boyfriend. He is happily involved with a sweet girl back home and NO.}

How ugly are these two plants?

Now that I’ve resolved I’m not moving for a bit, although the new savings plan is going well (wow, do I spend way too much at Fresh & Easy), Matt is going to help me create a garden with the space I’ve got. This is going to be very, very interesting and may result in a fine from my HOA. See, we have some “communal” lands that are technically landscaped but are in need of some serious attention. There is a 4 x 6 foot rectangle of mangy land right in front of my home that would just be so much prettier as an herb garden. I’m going to plant first and potentially ask for forgiveness later. That cranky old HOA guy is going to have a hard time giving me a fine when he tastes something fabulous that came from the little illegal garden plot. Right?

I’m going to try the lasagna gardening technique I’ve been learning about thanks to the awesome Phoenix Urban hippie movement. Inevitably, this makes my staff think I’m verging on homelessness because I’m saving cardboard boxes and our shredded paper to haul home to put into my “communal” garden. (Did I mention today this includes hauling such materials on my bike? Wearing Birkenstocks? Yep, I think the happy hippie transformation is nearing completion.) While this project certainly could wait, now is a pretty good time considering I’ve got a glut of free manual labor (Matt), the land available (sorta), and there is a rumor going around Phoenix that the weather is downgrading from “Hell” to “Just Embarrassingly Sweaty” this weekend. All good things.

I’ve also been learning about native seed banks and how to get success from your first garden — while the earth is still adjusting from, say, random mangy rock plot to awesome garden of Eden — you should really plant what naturally grows in the region. For Phoenix, this includes gourds, squash, corn, beans, etc. I’m going to do a bit more research, but this online source seems to be the best for Arizonans. Also? Locally grown fruit trees. I want a lemon and a fig. They aren’t native, but I’m thinking of using some freelance cash to splurge for these babies. Mmm… figs. They are my Homer J equivalent to donuts.

Mmm… figs.

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Happy Hippie, Journal
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14 Responses

  1. The cardboard box thing isn’t weird. You’ve just been “ruined for life” without having to go though JVC first 🙂

  2. Lasagna gardening is IT!
    That’s how I start all of my gardens and it is marvelous. Rich soil, lots of worms, no weeds and happy plants.
    Suggestion: I would reconsider using cardboard, though, unless you’re tyring to kill off some nasty weeds or thick grass. A thick layer of newspaper should do you fine if your garden will be in the area pictured above. Plus, you don’t have to worry about how to get it home on your bike!
    Happy gardening!

  3. Just don’t start asking people for their banana peels, it freaks me out when people do that.

  4. Very cool idea. I might need to give this a try at the end of my little yard. There is a dead area and it gets some light….

    cool idea.

  5. Sounds like you’re learning a lot about gardens. I’m considering putting some into plants since I too am limited on space. I’ll need to read about lasagna gardening. How long will your new “roomie” be staying with you?

  6. My fig does absolutely wonderful. This was only its second year with me and I got a great harvest in June. I also recommend “Extreme Gardening” by Dave Owens, its a book for us desert dwellers.

  7. Lasagna gardening — what a cool idea! And LOVE the idea of the herb garden. So pretty who could possibly complain over dead plants and bare dirt? I hope no one! It’s fun hearing about the new things you are learning about gardening. I am very excited to hear gourds are on your list of things to plant!

  8. BTW – statins may be needed afterwards, but your rommates dinner looked tasty and how great you didn’t have to cook! How long is he going to be living with you?

  9. Good luck with your garden! Just be warned that they may mow over your plants. It happened to one of my friends here this summer and she was really sad. So, if you’re anything like me (and I know you are), you’ll still do it, but at least knowing that’s a possibility will you make you somewhat less pissed when it happens.

  10. I want Matt’s casserole recipe, pass it on, it looks delicious!

  11. If your HOA has a problem with a beautiful well tended garden over the current landscaping they have lost their minds! Best of luck with your gardening. I tried to grow a cucumber plant my son brought my husband home from school for fathers day and I killed it in a month…I have a very brown (or black, like the angel of death!) thumb! Hopefully you will have more success!

  12. Suzy HomeMaker becomes Suzy Lawbreaker? (i spent all week coming up with that one.)

    Your HOA is definitely going to complain. That’s just the way they are. Mine just threatened to fine my for having a potted plant on top of the wall where it could get some more sun. Then they raised my fee $20 a month and continued to water the grass at 5 pm — the hottest part of the day — all summer long. I think some Guerrilla gardening may be needed at my place too. Nothing i like more than pissing off some failed PTA president with nothing better to do with their life.

    Another idea…if you think they might try and mow your garden under, the “lasagna” should also be layered with bricks and metal spikes…Monkey-Wrench gang style. Damn the man, save the Empire!

  13. Become friends with the County Extension office. The Maricopa County Master Gardeners are a wealth of knowledge, and have lots of resources available to help you with your garden.

    Yay for Guerrilla Gardening!

  14. i think the gardening plan sounds fantastic. and your new roomie sounds like great fun… so glad it is working out so well!