Back Yard Garden Update

I was super jealous of Marvin’s garden when I saw it this morning, but realized mine is doing ok since this is the first summer for it (last summer I just tilled up half the yard and threw in some tomato plants and yelled “You’re on your own, produce”). At any rate, some pics:

Did some more grass seeding today, and we are slowly but surely getting a thick, lush grass everywhere. Just a couple more thin spots left. Pulled up all the onions today and picked a ton of roma tomatoes:

Planted some broccoli where the onions had been:

Watermelons are doing well, looks like I am going to get a dozen or so out of four plants. The seeds were 99 cents so that’s not a bad deal:

The pole beans I put in last week are doing well (and I sneaked in a broccoli plant where I ran out of seeds). You can see the sunflowers still doing their thing in the back:

Finally, looks like I am going to get about a dozen decent sized apples this year. I could have gotten more, but I picked about a dozen or so and threw them in the compost pile because I didn’t want to stress the limbs on a young tree:

I’m seriously considering putting in three more raised beds next year. Also, I think I am going to hold off on the pathway until next year. I’m tired and broke, and it can wait another year.


123 replies
  1. 1
    SWMBO says:

    What color is on sale? Personally I like rainbow so it looks like your yard is the pot of gold.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    I see no pets in these photos.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    @SWMBO: Just not gold.

  4. 4
    SWMBO says:

    What is with the lattice on the left leaning against the fence? Are you trying to stop someone digging? Or offering shade to something that is getting cooked? It just looks untidy and incongruous otherwise.

  5. 5
    SWMBO says:

    @SWMBO: Also one last picky detail. It’s Marvel’s garden. Marvin’s garden is in Monopoly.

  6. 6
    sgrAstar says:

    White with green or gray trim.

  7. 7
    SWMBO says:

    @SWMBO: Also, it’s Marvel’s garden not Marvin’s garden.

  8. 8
    The Dangerman says:



  9. 9
    sukabi says:

    What color is your house? Paint it that color…or invert your houses color scheme for your shed…

    Fyi, the save nym / email fields checkbox has disappeared on android mobile…and it isn’t saving them anymore either. 😕

  10. 10
    Charluckles says:

    Whatever color is on clearance at Lowe’s. If rebates line up and the wind blows in the right direction you can get gallons of new high-quality, but mistinted paint for free.

  11. 11
    jeffreyw says:

    Paint your barn red, John. That way the tax man will not think you’re uppity and raise the evaluation. Known fact.

  12. 12
    MoxieM says:

    I vote that John should paint the shed with colors that coordinate with the porch and house, but not too much contrast. (Alternately dark green or dark red. There are a lot of dark brick red sheds in my neighborhood and they’ve weathered nicely, i.e., you don’t have to paint them that often.)

    I have a question for Jackals with larger dogs or lots of them, whose dogs pee in the yard. I am finding with Murphy that I have a drastic case of dog-pee-brown-spot.

    I’ve re-seeded with the Scotts dog-pee reseeding mix, which sometimes works. But it’s expensive. Oh, I should add that her fenced OK-Corral out behind my condo/townhouse is about 25 x 35 ft rectangle. Not huge but adequate for dog beeswax and lying under the lilac in the shade. (Yes, I am rigorous in keeping it cleaned up, and Yes, she gets several long walks each week to stretch her legs.)

    I have been filtering her water with a super duper filter that eliminates a lot of the nitrites in her urine, besides what she manufactures from protein (I read that’s what turns the grass brown).

    I know fuck-all about chemistry however, and am a lousy gardener.

    Hence: looking for tips on taking care of the grass with 90 lbs of dog giving it a good pee once or twice a day. (Since she’s a girl, she tends to pee in the same general area.) Poop zone–pee zone–play/rest zone.

    thanks much!

  13. 13
    low-tech cyclist says:

    John, your yard looks really great, now that it isn’t underwater. :^D

  14. 14
    dexwood says:

    My wife, the painter, says if you want it to stand out a bit, turquoise blue, pale green, or barn red. Though, she first said white if you want it to fade into the fence and surrounding houses. I like the barn red idea against the white fence and green lawn. My second choice is a pale grey with white trim.

  15. 15
    2liberal says:

    Marvel’s garden was the morning garden post. Marvin Gardens is Monopoly.

  16. 16
    WaterGirl says:

    The shed I would love to have (but have not place for) is charming and I would use it as a feature.

    Cole, do you want your shed to say “Notice Me!” or “Pay not attention to me, I am just here to help.”
    The answer to that question is important in deciding what color to paint the shed.

    So many people paint their garages with multiple colors to mimic or accent their house, but garages aren’t something you typically want to call attention to. But a shed can actually be charming and be a garden feature, so it’s a whole different deal. Unless it’s an unattractive shed.

  17. 17
    jeffreyw says:

    Do this with the tomatoes until you run out of tomatoes.

  18. 18
    WaterGirl says:

    @dexwood: I see that your wife and I are thinking along the same lines.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: I want your tomatoes. So jealous.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    John Deere green.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Green, damn it! No edit function. Impermanence of ‘nyms.

    ETA: Now edit is back, but not ‘nyms.

  22. 22
    jeffreyw says:

    @WaterGirl: I ate all both of them, sorry. So far we’ve been underwhelmed with our tomatoes.

  23. 23
    dexwood says:

    True. She has an amazing eye for color and how it works. She never uses black in her paintings, yet, you see black where you think it ought to be. Magic.

  24. 24
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    I grew watermelons in raised beds one year and the vines got so out of control they escaped the beds. Eventually they produced so many watermelons that I couldn’t keep up with them. Many over-ripened and exploded all over the lawn. I had feral watermelon vines coming up in my lawn for years afterwards. Just when I thought the seeds were all done up would pop another watermelon plant as soon as the ground was warm enough. It was funny when I think back on it.

  25. 25
    Scamp Dog says:

    @MoxieM: One strategy is to dilute the urine. If she’s fairly consistent in position, or you can observe were she goes, water that area. You may have noticed that the grass on the edge of the brown spot is often taller and lusher, since there are some nutrients that are good for grass in small quantities, but can “burn” vegetation when overdone.

  26. 26
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Well, from the photo they looked like they are awesome summer tomatoes.

  27. 27
    WaterGirl says:

    @dexwood: I am in awe of people with artistic talent.

  28. 28
    jeffreyw says:

    @WaterGirl: So far our vines have produced 2 good tomatoes, I hope to get more as there are some green tomatoes on them.

  29. 29
    J R in WV says:

    OK, here’s the rule. If you’re going to use the shed, paint it white to keep it cooler in summer heat. If it’s a toy shed just to look good, then there are plenty of good color balanced suggestions already. Turquoise blue would be good…

  30. 30
    Jay says:


    Add low sodium tomato juice to her diet.

  31. 31
    Pogonip says:


  32. 32
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: It’s been a hard year with all the excessive heat. Disappointing.

  33. 33
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jay: What does that do – I have the same problem as Moxie.

  34. 34

    Red with white trim, definitely

  35. 35
  36. 36
    raven says:

    @jeffreyw: We’ve had a great crop down here.

  37. 37
    HinTN says:

    Blue, with white trim. So sayeth Mrs H.

    ETA nym and edit just fine on this android

  38. 38
    MoxieM says:

    Thanks for anti-dog-pee ideas.

    I am thinking that a great color for that shed is Willow green.

  39. 39
    Jay says:


    Seems to change the chemistry of the urine, makes it less hard on the grass.

    Boy dogs tend to kill plants and shrubbery, ( leg lift), girl dogs, grass, (squat).

    Never did figure out how to deal will Digger’s urge to poop on the tallest thing available.

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:


    Never did figure out how to deal will Digger’s urge to poop on the tallest thing available.

    Made me laugh!

  41. 41
    Gelfling 545 says:

    It’s looking fantastic for a first year garden.

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    John, Imagine sitting on the deck with a glass of ice tea looking at your beautiful yard and garden, and then you will know what color to paint the shed.

  43. 43
    Aleta says:

    fluorescent orange

  44. 44
    Gretchen says:

    Are those Moon and Stars watermelons? So pretty.

  45. 45
    Aleta says:

    mural of rocks, a few trees and wildflowers

  46. 46

    Marvin Gardens is also a reoccuring R.A. Wilson character.

  47. 47
    JaneE says:

    I would vote for the same colors as the house, with or without reversing body and trim colors. Dark body and lighter trim can look very nice.

  48. 48
    MadgaInBlack says:

    I thought they were too, but I think its just water reflecting .
    Moon and Stars : Mmmmmmmm 😊

  49. 49
    Aleta says:

    Actually wood shingles or shakes would give some nice texture back there. Make the light bounce differently at different times of day and year.

  50. 50
    MagdaInBlack says:

    I thought they were too, but I think its water reflecting.
    Moon and Stars : Mmmmm 😊

    (It seems to have eaten my comment once…..seems to…)

  51. 51
    Josie says:

    White, if you want it to fade into the fence, or green to fade into the landscape. The yard will seem too small if the color stands out.

  52. 52
    debbie says:

    I agree with whoever said to use the house’s colors.

  53. 53
    Ohio Mom says:

    I like the barn red idea. You need something cheerful to look at in the winter and the early spring, when everything is monochromatic.

    Maybe paint some sun flowers or vegetables growing up the sides, just for fun. They’ll blend in during the summer and in the winter, remind you what you have to look forward to.

  54. 54
    joanne Ross says:

    John, put net or wire mesh bags over those apple tree limbs. You aren’t the only critter in your neighborhood who has their eyes on ripening apples.

  55. 55

    @The Dangerman: Cole planted the willow too close to the blog.

    ETA: I blame the willow for having to re-enter my nym every time.

  56. 56
    AnotherBruce says:

    Fuck it, paint it Black.

  57. 57
    dnfree says:

    Mustard yellow!

  58. 58
    Roger Moore says:

    Obviously the right color for the shed is either olive drab or camouflage.

  59. 59
    NotMax says:


    Snarky answer #1: Pink, to match the bedroom.

    Snarky answer #2: Team colors of the Steelers.

    Real answer: Barn red, keep the trim brownish.

  60. 60
    different-church-lady says:

    I’ve owned my place 12 years now, and yours looks about a thousand times better.

  61. 61
    different-church-lady says:

    @AnotherBruce: Only if it’s a red door.

  62. 62
    JMG says:

    WHAT COLOR SHOULD I PAINT MY SHED? Good question. If you want to express yourself, earlier posters have made fine suggestions. If you want to be practical, take it from a New Englander. Gray with whatever trim suggests itself (we have dark green at our house, but you could pick brighter and it’d be OK). Winter is coming.

  63. 63
    Kay says:

    Stain it a deep blacky-brown. Your fence should be that color too so replace it :)

    Plants look great against it. Flowers, foliage, it all looks great against, in front of or behind this color. It wears to a silvery-brown that looks even better. You just sort of refresh it with stain every couple of years to preserve the wood, but you don’t have to get too manic about it because the stain just silvers and fades which looks nice, too.

  64. 64
  65. 65

    @NotMax: Only 2 snarky answers NotMax, you’re slipping.

  66. 66
    NotMax says:


    Okay, then.

    Red, white and blue. This is ‘Murka, dammit!

  67. 67
    cmorenc says:


    Watermelons == raccoons, if there are any around. They will wait until the melon is almost ripe, close enough to have you thinking: “not quite yet, but almost – just a handful more days”. And then – blam! You find not just that melon all busted up and chewed up, but all the other melons within 2-3 weeks of being rupe all split and torun up too, leaving you at most a few itty-butty late starters that probably won’t get ripe before the weather turns.

  68. 68
    Aleta says:

    @cmorenc: Same with corn. Raccoons wait until they hear you think: tomorrow it’s time to pick the corn. That night they come in and tear off almost every ear, take at least two bites out of each and leave them lying around to break your heart in the morning. You can move away, to an island miles out to sea, but the next summer they will still come for your corn on the exact night it is ripe.

  69. 69
    MaryLou says:

    White with a blue door!

  70. 70
    ruemara says:

    I like your back yard, JC. It’s very neat & restful.

    Citizenship update: It took a few weeks, but I have parental A numbers and citizenship dates. I don’t have my mum’s bday, so I guess another week or so. But the application is finished and check is cut. This close!

  71. 71
    JR says:

    Lost all my tomatoes to blossom end rot

    Used a bad potting soil mix. Such is the consequence.

  72. 72
    Barry says:

    John, it’s looking really good!

    You should be proud.

  73. 73
    Mike J says:

    Neighbors are putting on a new roof. Yesterday sounded like As I Lay Dying. Nail guns have come out today and it sounds like they’re preparing for a war crime.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnubus says:

    @Mike J: Never mention that book. I still have nightmares from freshman year in college.

  75. 75
    Suzanne says:

    A nice, deep, silvery green. With pale gray or cream trim.

  76. 76
    J R in WV says:


    Good news, keep us posted as you learn more – esp a date so we can help party!

  77. 77
    ruemara says:

    Yay! Mom got back to me quickly! Application done. So, I guess I wait

  78. 78
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnubus: you don’t like Shakespeare?

  79. 79

    @ruemara: Good luck! My friend who applied this January passed her citizenship interview last week. Swearing in is this month.

  80. 80
    WaterGirl says:

    @ruemara: So happy about this, Rue!

  81. 81
    MoxieM says:

    @ruemara: woo hoo! new voter ahoy! congratulations.

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: My college has a program called Freshman Studies in which every professor and every student takes part. Set reading list that evolves little over time that gives every student and prof a common background. That book was part of it. Years later, I told the gentleman who was president when I was there that the student body had renamed it “As I Die Reading.” He laughed his ass off.

  83. 83
    lahke says:

    @JR: Nope, it’s inconsistent watring, says my sister the Master Gardener (that’s a real thing in California). Water consistently and don’t let them dry out.

  84. 84
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnubus: My HS English teacher was a Faulkner scholar. Pretty cool that a public school teacher is publishing in journals, but we got way more than our fair share of Faulkner and field trips to Oxford.

  85. 85
    stinger says:

    John, what apple varieties did you plant?

  86. 86
    Yutsano says:


    Pepto-Bismol pink. I’m actually not kidding.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike J: There are only a few books that I actively hate.

  88. 88
    Yutsano says:

    @ruemara: WOOT!!! It will be over sooner than you think!

  89. 89
    MomSense says:


    Mix clover seed with the grass.

  90. 90


    Pepto-Bismol pink. I’m actually not kidding.

    I am not a crank!

  91. 91
    Yutsano says:

    @Roger Moore: I AM NOT A KRONK!!!
    I make a mean spanakopita though.

  92. 92
    Jay says:


    Inconsistant watering can cause it,

    So can the flower failing to detach, then rotting,

    The VW virus has a similar effect on ripening fruit.

  93. 93
    Olivia says:

    You have great talent growing things. I am jealous of your yard and garden. It all looks so organized and lush. Your shed should be teal or turquoise or the combination of both. It will look great in the winter.

  94. 94
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    Dark green or whatever non ugly green they have in the mistint oops paints at Ace/Sherwin Williams/PPG/Dunn Edwards as long as it’s the really good normally expensive paint.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mai Naem mobile: I already called for John Deere green.

  96. 96
    Schlemazel says:

    I have heard a song a few times now, “Re: Your Brains” by Jonathan Coulton. Hit is a hilarious bit of fluff about a zombie office mate. But it struck me when I heard it yesterday that it contains the perfect representation of the modern GOP

    All we want to do is eat your brains
    We’re not unreasonable; I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes
    All we want to do is eat your brains
    We’re at an impasse here–maybe we should compromise:
    If you open up the doors
    We’ll all come inside and eat your brains!

  97. 97
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Scamp Dog: How is Meeca??

  98. 98
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: that is funny. But best to avoid the Delta in case word has gotten out.

    Did anyone see the Washington Post article from an hour and a half ago about Emmett Till? The co-founder and director of the center is married to my cousin. Unfortunately, a depressing topic in an out of the way place hasn’t brought in many tourists. He’s a super nice guy, though.

  99. 99
    Suzanne says:

    @Mai Naem mobile:

    Ace/Sherwin Williams/PPG/Dunn Edwards as long as it’s the really good normally expensive paint.

    Don’t get PPG. Not good. I personally stick to SW, Dunn Edwards, or Benjamin Moore.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: The DGs knew so the secret is out.

  101. 101
    zhena gogolia says:


    I love that song! One of my students turned me on to it.

  102. 102
    MomSense says:

    It’s just a personal taste thing, but I’m not a fan of the x trim on doors. It reads too cutesy country to me especially since your house is not cutesy. Whatever color you pick, I’d be tempted to paint the trim the same color as the siding. You could always paint just the flower box in an accent color or do the trim in a shade or two lighter than the body but not a major contrast.

  103. 103
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    We’ve commiserated about this before. Although there are some Faulkner novels that I like. I’ve never revisited that one — sheer agony! Just the name “Anse” gives me the heebie-jeebies.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @zhena gogolia: Inorite?

  105. 105
    Chris T. says:

    Urine (dog, cat, human, whatever) is actually pretty complicated chemically, but the majority of its content, by far, is nitrogen compounds (uric acid, urea, ammonia, etc) diluted with water. The water evaporates while the nitrogen stays behind and acts as fertilizer. Too much fertilizer results in the burned brown look.

    Hence, the simplest cure is simple dilution: get it spread out even more before it over-concentrates in one spot in the soil.

    (The nitrogen gets into the urine via deamination, which is how your body turns excess protein / amino acids into the glucose it needs. An amine is a chemical group including a nitrogen and hydrogen atom (well, 2 in this case to make NH2)—and removing these gives you glucose. Depending on the amino acid there might be some additional steps but that’s the core process. The freed-up NH2 immediately bonds with stray hydrogen to form NH3, i.e., ammonia. Ammonia is toxic and will also cross the blood-brain barrier, so your liver, which is doing the deamination in the first place, grabs up the ammonia and, in an energy-expensive process, converts it to urea or uric acid, which is also toxic but doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier. Your kidneys, which can also do a limited amount of deamination, get rid of the urea/uric acid. Upon being peed-out, it degrades back to ammonia.)

    This all harks back to the old saying: money is like shit: it makes great fertilizer, as long as you spread it around. If you just pile it all up in one place, it stinks, and eventually kills everything off too!

  106. 106
    MomSense says:


    Clover lawns do not turn yellow or brown with dog urine. Handles drought or too much rain. Always looks lush and green. If you let it flower you will attract bumble bees. It’s also inexpensive.

  107. 107
    MomSense says:

    @Chris T.:

    The simplest cure is a clover lawn. Doesn’t turn yellow or brown with dog urine.

  108. 108
    Chris T. says:

    @MoxieM: It’s nitrates, not nitrites, which are a different thing (but still a nitrogen compound). If your dog is peeing a lot of nitrites, your dog is not a dog, it’s some kind of mutant superpowered creature. :-)

  109. 109
    Chris T. says:

    @MomSense: I’ll buy that (well, up to a point, I bet you could burn clover with enough concentrated ammonia).

  110. 110
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I can’t post any music that could revive this thread. Sorry. The urine theme is too much.

  111. 111
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Your yard is lovely, John. You must have a very green thumb.

  112. 112
    Mel says:

    @ruemara: How exciting!! Congratulations!

  113. 113
    rikyrah says:

    Your backyard is doing great, Cole.
    So much green.

  114. 114
    sukabi says:

    @JR: lack of calcium in the soil. Supplement the soil and new tomatoes will be fine. ☺

  115. 115
    rikyrah says:

    Just keeping positive thoughts for you.
    Cross a those “t’s” and dot those “i’s”🙏🙏

  116. 116
  117. 117
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Did you consider this song?

  118. 118
    MoxieM says:

    @Chris T.: Well, I DO call her Murphy, the Magical Wonder Dog … but I’ll assume she processes food & water like the rest. :)

    Thanks for the info. Very helpful .

    @MomSense: I’ve ordered my Clover seed! and even better, apparently it doesn’t want to be too dug down into the soil, which is good. (My back really hates raking &&), just scattered about on the surface.

    Looking forward to the outcome of all this. Thank you, and I hope it’s helpful to others with animals who just aren’t plastic, dammit, and insist on peeing and pooping.

  119. 119

    @Amir Khalid: Somebody mention This Song?

    ETA: The video was filmed in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in DTLA.

  120. 120


    Chartreuse. You’ll be the only one on the block…

    The whole thing is really coming along nicely!

  121. 121
    Munira says:

    @lahke: Also calcium for blossom end rot

  122. 122
    mad citizen says:

    For the shed, maybe match the house–would look pretty cool, I think.

    On the clover lawns, yes, I love them too, and have mixed clover in to my yard. I discovered micro-clover, and it’s kind of hard to find (got some on amazon–it came from northern Europe), but worth it. Smaller than regular clover, doesn’t really flower, all around a better look.

    Once on the web I found that when they invented the week killer, they discovered it also killed clover (broadleaf plants, etc.), so from then on they marketed clover as bad. Yet another corportate BS thingy.

  123. 123
    Susan says:

    greenish gray.

Comments are closed.