i got to belmont by 10:30am. i was hungry so i didn't need breakfast/lunch. so after my parents got ready, we left by 11am. today was a mostly waltham supply run, hitting the costco followed by market basket. we stopped by the VFW hall parking lot to see if the propane refill station was opened. during the winter it was only opened on weekends, but now that it's spring, they're opened everyday - except mondays and tuesdays.
i was hoping to get some more potting soil from costco, but all they had were garden/raised bed soil, and even that was in limited supply, as the warmer spring weather has gotten a lot of people in the mood for gardening.
afterwards we went to market basket around 12pm. i'd forgotten it was a weekday, and we got there right around lunchtime, so the place was crowded with people getting lunch, a lot of construction guys from the nearby "life science" laboratory construction projects. market basket also sold various types of soils, and we ended up getting two 40lbs. bags of composted manure for $3.99/bag.
we finally left waltham around 12:45pm. instead of taking the same route back, we got onto interstate 95 then route 2, passing through alewife and the fresh pond mall, to get back to the cafe. it shaved 6 minutes off of our travel time. we stopped at the fresh pond trader joe's so my mother could get some vegetables for my sister's catered meals this week. those potted gardenias i saw last week? there were just a few pots left. i was tempted to get another one, but keeping our existing gardenia alive (and flowering) has been a real struggle, i didn't need another high maintenance plant.
we went to the cafe briefly to drop off the supplies before getting back to belmont by 1:20pm. while my father grilled some buffalo wings and long horn hot peppers, i filled 4 long planters with a little bit of chicken manure followed by a thick layer of miracle-gro raised bed soil. to these i'd later plants some baby bokchoi (in the smaller planters) and chinese celery (in the longer planters).
besides the buffalo wings, i also had a big bowl of rice noodles, which was what my mother was originally going to make for me for lunch. i hurried up and ate so my father and i could go to hom depot and get some gardening supplies. we left by 3:15pm.
first we needed to get a rake. not a leaf rake but rather a landscaping rake AKA bow rake. we needed one to dig out the chunks of dead grass mixed with the lawn soil. next we searched for materials we needed to make fences for the raised beds. after rabbits destroyed most of our early season bean seedlings, i vowed to grow my vegetables behind cages, making sure rabbits could never get to them even if they somehow got into the backyard. we found 1x2" 8ft furring strip boards for $1.61 a piece. not sure what they're used for, but they were the cheapest wood option we could find. we ended up getting 15 of them, to piece together at least enough fencing for one raised bed, if not two.
to attach the wood together, originally i thought of using flat L-shaped corner braces, but we needed 4 per square fencing, and each 4x8ft raised beds would have 6 fencing pieces, multiplied by 4, that meant 24 corner braces. we soon discovered that corner braces are expensive, like $3-4 for a set of 4, meaning it'd cost up around $30 to buy enough braces to enclose a single raised bed.
in the end we decided to attach the wooden frame of the fencing using just screws. the only ones of a short enough length (1") and inexpensive was a box of drywall screws. i also saw some brass wood screws, but they were double in price for less quantity. i'm still a iffy about using drywall screws, maybe i can find better options online.
finally we got some wire fencing. these we'd just staple onto the wood frames. we got two rolls of chicken wire, 2x25ft. each roll is enough to fence in one raised bed.
before we left, we also got some fertilizer for the new lawn bed, and some crabgrass preventer (with fertilizer) for the rest of the lawn.
we didn't get back home until 4:30pm. i helped my father prepare the new lawn area, collecting all the dead chunks of grass. instead of throwing them out, we piled them in the backyard, hoping some rain will eventually wash off all the dirt. we then added some new dirt, including used soil from planters, 4 bags of top soil, and the 2 bags of composted manure we got earlier. we also erected a crude fencing using some pvc pipes as stakes. i'll need to get some rope to fence off the area so people don't trample the growing grass. by then it was close to 6pm. i didn't have time to water the basement grow room, so i'll need to come back tomorrow. that'll give me a chance to seed the bare lawn and then fertilize.
my parents made sour vegetables fish broth for dinner. i thought it'd take long, but we were eating by 6:45pm. afterwards i helped my father order a few radio equipment from aliexpress: two magnetic SMA antenna bases and 2 UHF-SMA adapters. i didn't leave until almost 8:30pm.