You don’t know what you can have, unless you ask. 

The Little Man and I were working on the garden, preparing new flowerbeds, and mulching with the one truckload of mulch I’d bought. I had planned to make the garden grow slowly. Not overwhelm myself. 

I had not calculated on youth and enthusiasm. The teenager working at the home improvement store, in the nursery. The single pickup-load of mulch was going to be… insufficient. 

As we started work on the mulching, and I was weeding (chop-and-drop of taller weeds around the base of plants we were planning to mulch) preparatory to using cardboard under the mulch, I could see a crew arrive at a neighbor’s house. It was not clear at first what they were doing, but then they carefully took down a tree, and started trimming others, and the familiar roar of a really big woodchipper was clear enough. I suggested to the Little Man that we ask nicely if they’d be willing to drop a load of that nice fresh mulch on the yard for us. Free mulch? Why not? 

“Oh no. I’m not doing it. You have to go.” 

So I did. Short lady in a really big garden hat (I was wearing an 1830s straw with a brim as wide as my shoulders. It makes me look like a mobile mushroom) wanders up and stops in a safe range well away from the work. One of them notices me, and gestures another in my direction. I ask if they’d be willing to drop mulch for me? His face lit up. Sure, and they would be ready to do it in fifteen minutes, they were almost full. 

Not long after that, we had a big pile of wood chips to work with. The Little Man’s plans promptly got bigger, too. The bed in the photo above was meant to be about half that wide! I’m creating a permaculture guild system as a hedgerow between the road and the house, for beauty and food. My focus is on Texas native plants. I’m going to have to start a bunch of seeds so I have young perennials to plant in this big bed in fall! I have a couple of elderberries and a fig, which may go in here. Or not. Still figuring that out.

Raised beds this year are temporary non-woven fabric ones.

The vegetable garden in the back yard is producing. More peas than we can keep up with. To my surprise, the grape has wee little grapes. It’s only the first year! Excited to see what happens as the garden matures in the next year or so. 

For that matter, I’m looking forward to seeing how the garden does as the summer goes on. Last year I had a complete failure, but everything was in smaller pots, and in full sun, and mostly on the concrete pad. They were all burned to a crisp by the Texas summer. This year we’re wetter and cooler than last year, so there’s explosive growth all over the yard and garden. 


Last year the d’squirrels ate every single squash or melon plant I put out. This year…

I put in quite a few, hoping they’d leave me one. I don’t think they touched any. My watermelon starts died. The yellow summer squash is setting fruit already. One of the TAM Jalapeno is setting fruit, and all the peppers are blooming, as are the tomatoes.  

And now, we have mulch and to spare, all because we asked nicely. And then! We got free rain! From the sky! 

I didn’t even ask for that, but I am grateful.