Yay for a three day weekend! Isn’t that the best thing ever Leo?

Know what is almost better than a three day weekend Leo?

Exactly! The basketball hoop is gone!

Remember last summer when I had to arrange the patio around the hoop?

I decided one of my Retro Ranch Revamp Resolutions would be to get that hoop out of the back yard…well it’s gone!

The last owners of the house had filled the base with sand. My adorable husband Jim, even when pulling with all his might, couldn’t get the hoop to tilt to wheel it to the driveway, so I got out my trusty shop vac and tried to vacuum as much of the sand out of the base as I could. This didn’t work so well. The hose kept clogging and it was difficult to suck the sand out through the tiny hole…I gave it my best shot. Luckily I managed to get enough sand out so that Jim could roll it to the driveway, however, I was not expecting about a million worms, some sort of nest and two angry frogs to be under the base. I admit it. I shrieked a little.


See the frogs?

I tried to coax the frogs to hop onto my shovel so they could be airlifted to a safe location over the fence (and away from a certain curious K-9). One of the frogs was scared. The other…

…was angry.

After I explained the situation to them, they both allowed me to move them to safety.

We sold the hoop on Craigslist to a nice couple who was buying it for their grand kids (they were both very energetic young boys who came along because they were so excited about getting a basketball hoop). It took us about an hour and a half, half a can of WD-40, and all four of us to take the hoop apart enough to get it in their van, but it was all worth it. Jim and I got some $$$ to put towards the garden, our back patio is no longer a basketball court and two very excited little boys can now burn a ton of energy playing basketball. Everyone came out a winner.

That brings us back to the garden progress….

Jim and I started mixing the dirt on Saturday. The mix was equal parts sand, compost and peat moss (by volume). We used a tarp to do the mixing about 3 cubic feet at a time. Let me tell you, that was some heavy dirt. After several hours of mixing and the threat of rain, we had to stop for the day.

We had about 30 cubic feet of soil yet to mix, but we were done.

Sunday was very rainy and not a good day for mixing soil (I worked on other stuff-to come in a later post).

Memorial day had to be the day that we finish the soil and plant! Luckily the cool, slow start to spring made our last frost date later than it usually was, but now that the threat of frost had passed, we needed to step on it and get our stuff planted. Summer is short in Wisconsin.

Despite the sudden 80 degree heat wave, we managed to get the dirt done! I sent Jim off to mow the yard while I continued to garden…

First I planted Strawberries in one of the extra pots…

Then I planted herbs in the other (Cilantro, Parsley, Basil and Oregano)…

Then I used my measuring tape and shish kebab skewers to mark off the square feet in my garden…

Finally, it was time to plant. I planted everything from seed except the strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. This shot shows the holes I made to plant radishes (16 per square foot!)

Since I couldn’t mix soil on Sunday, I made a trip to the garden center to pick up the plants (more notes on what varieties I planted in a later post…)

This is definitely the most exciting part of the garden right now….

Then it was time to prep the area next to the fence for blueberry bushes!

I used some of the patio stones and landscape timbers that I discovered when I was “taking apart” the original garden to make a blueberry area. An look, there are the blueberries!

I am also putting down landscape fabric (that I will eventually cover with either gravel, rocks or mulch) so it will never be full of weeds or muddy around my garden!

I still have to get rid of a bunch of weeds and level out the area around the garden before I can finish putting down the landscape fabric, but it look so much better already!

While I was at the garden center, this little guy hopped in my cart. I’m not putting him in by the square foot garden…he is for a different project. More on that later. Until then, lets take in the beautiful sight that is my fully planted raised bed garden!

(That shrub has to come out! It is regenerating! Ahhh!)

Happy Memorial Day!



  1. Wow! You guys have been busy! The garden area is really shaping up to be super! Once it is done it should be easier after this year. You’re doing an admirable job building the area. Love the pom-pom plant. Anxious to see all of this in person! Makes a gardening and plant “addict” like me very proud and happy! Go Kate! 🙂

    • I am getting really excited about the “garden area” too…and also VERY excited that I won’t have to do this much work every year! I have had several neighbors drop by to check the progress. They are all impressed! Only about a month and then you can see it in person!

  2. LOL, the frogs! Worms, okay, but I would never have expected frogs to be living under there. I love your garden ambitions. I planted 3 flowers this weekend and that’s about it for me. 🙂

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