Category Archives: Weeds & Other Crap

I Hate My Neighbor Because His Garden is Prettier Than Mine

hate my neighbor because his garden is prettier

We moved into our house almost three months ago. I was a square-foot gardener at my old house. Now I’m an in-the-ground gardener. Making the switch wasn’t easy, people. There are weeds freaking everywhere! The leaves on my tomatoes are curling and I’m guessing I’m missing some nutrient in the soil but I don’t know because I didn’t hand-make the soil like I did with my square foot garden.

When we first moved in, we dug all the grass and weeds up from the area where the former owners had a garden. There were a lot of weeds – a lot of mint and a big, dead blueberry bush. The garden sloped down a small hill. We ended up making steps for each level of the garden. It was kind of like rice fields in China, except small and ugly.

I knew the soil had a lot of clay in it, so I added some compost and garden soil to make it more loamy or whatever. I planted my tomatoes and pepper plants. That night it rained.

Apparently, we had dug trenches instead of steps. The plants were sitting in two inches of water when I went out to check on them. Immediately, I made a way for the water to run off so the plants wouldn’t stay flooded. I learned a lesson: don’t dig trenches in your garden, especially when the soil is like play-doh.

My new neighbor is a first-year square-foot gardener. He has two square foot gardens. The wood is fresh. Everything is verdant. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect.

I hate him.

neighbors garden

I peeked through the bushes when he wasn’t home to take this photo. He even built a bench with the left-over wood. Gah!

His garden is pretty and perfect. I used to have a pretty and perfect garden. I used to be a square-foot gardener. Now I don’t know what in the heck I’m doing. I’m digging trenches, my tomato leaves are curling and the weeds are overwhelming. I could make enough After Eight dinner mints to supply the entire Chicagoland area for the next 20 years with the amount of mint in my garden. No lie, check it out.

my garden full of mint 2I write a gardening blog and I don’t even know how to garden. My blog should be called “I Try to Grow Mint.” I could totally rock that blog.

Part of my mint problem has to do with my laziness, obviously. At my old house, I was in my garden multiple times a day. My bedroom window overlooked my garden. In my new house, I can’t see my garden from inside my house. I’d like to say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but in this case it seems to be more of “out of sight, out of mind.” I’ve been neglectful of my garden and it’s showing.

So my project for the fall will be to dig up all that mint and get rid of it. In the spring I’ll work on making the soil better. And then I’ll kick my neighbor’s square-foot gardening rear end.

P.S. What in the heck do I even do with mint? I don’t have a single mint recipe. Please help! (don’t say tea, I don’t like tea)


I Accidentally On Purpose Grew Weeds Up a Trellis

Grew Weeds up trellis

A few weeks ago, this plant started growing in my garden. I didn’t know what it was. I figured maybe there were seeds left in the ground from the previous owners. We moved to this house just two months ago.

I looked at this beautiful plant with its broad leaves and yellow flowers and thought, maybe it’s a cantaloupe. I’ve never grown cantaloupe before, so I wasn’t really sure what it looked like. My sister is growing cantaloupe in her garden (this is her first year gardening) so I sent her a picture and asked her if it looked like her cantaloupe. She said, yes, it looked like what she had in her garden.

So, I got my trellis out of the garage and put it in the ground and strung it up. I guided the plant through the strings. And then I waited a few days.

Then I noticed two more cantaloupe plants growing right near my trellis. Perfect! I thought, I am so lucky the previous owners grew cantaloupe. I love those old house owners.

Then a week went by and I noticed the cantaloupe was still growing straight up. Don’t cantaloupe vines grow along the ground and you have to guide them up a trellis?

The cantaloupe kept growing. I waited another week and continued to water them regularly.

My sister came over and I said, come out and look at my cantaloupe. I’m not sure if it’s cantaloupe. Aren’t they supposed to grow like a vine?

She took one look at it and said, “No, that’s not cantaloupe. I don’t know what that is, some sort of weed. That doesn’t look anything like a cantaloupe plant.”

So, for the past three weeks, I, the gardening blogger, have been accidentally on purpose training weeds to grow up a trellis. Thank goodness this is a humor blog!

I searched on the internet to find out what in the heck I’ve been growing. It turns out to be a common wildflower in Illinois, called Velvetleaf. It’s often found in vacant lots, construction sites and waste areas – like my garden. One of the more interesting things the shared about this plant was that, “Velvetleaf is a rather tall and lanky plant with large leaves that is easy to identify in the field because there is really nothing else that resembles it.”

No, I’m sorry, IT LOOKS LIKE CANTALOUPE! Broad leaves? Yellow flowers? Cantaloupe!

NOT cantaloupe

OMG, this looks NOTHING like cantaloupe.

Here’s what a cantaloupe plant really looks like (from my sister’s garden)…


I can’t believe I’ve spent the last three weeks growing weeds up a trellis.

Have you ever done something embarrassing in your garden like this? (Please say, yes.)

Phallic Fungus: Getting Stinkhorn Out of Your Stinkin’ Garden


We moved to a new house where the yard is heavily mulched with wood chips. It looks really nice, but I don’t have much experience with mulch simply because mulch costs money and I’m lazy.

After a few heavy rains I noticed these nasty things growing in our yard.

stinkhorn fungus

Ick! That greenish-brown wet-looking area toward the top is indeed wet, and reeks of decaying flesh, therefore attracting flies. Some of these were up to around seven inches long.

After some research (asking my friends on Facebook what this stinky, slimy crap growing in my yard and attracting flies is) I learned that it’s a fungus called Stinkhorn.

So I googled “Stinkhorn.”

I learned that it produces its slimy, stinky substance to attract flies because that’s how the spores are spread. See, God does have a sense of humor, but…barf.

While deep in research, I noticed that the latin word for the family of Stinkhorn mushrooms is “Phallaceae,” as in “phallic.” Yep.

Later, my friend, Julie, added this photo to my “WTH is this crap growing in my yard” Facebook thread.

julie fungus


This mushroom is also found in the Phallaceae family of fungi. The latin name truly fits.

And, I guess not so ironically, this is the stinkhorn egg when it’s cut open.

I’m not making this stuff up.

So obviously I didn’t want these things growing in my yard and I definitely didn’t want them to spread, as they were doing so quite quickly. So based on my friend Kenya’s advice and what I googled on how to get rid of them, I did the following:

Got a plastic trash bag and gloves. They suggested disposable gloves, but I didn’t have any, so I wore ski gloves. Just kidding, I wore gardening gloves.

I dug those suckers out, “roots” and all. The “roots” look like small white eggs and there were a lot of them. I kind of felt like a gold miner digging for nuggets of gold, except I hated the freaking gold I found.

stinkhorn roots

I put everything I dug up into a plastic bag.

I tied it up and threw it in the trash, not in the compost bin or with other yard scrap waste, in the trash.

Some people recommend boiling water and bleach to get rid of the remaining spores, but I didn’t do that because…boiling water and bleach.

Then I left my gloves and trowel in the sun to roast all that lingering nasty sporey fungus off.

I’ve looked back in my garden every day to see if any stinkhorns grew that I had missed. I found a few and dug those up and threw them away. Actually, I just threw them in the middle of my driveway to die and roast because I was too lazy to get a trash bag.

That was last week.

We had another heavy rain two nights ago and wouldn’t you know it, those freaking things came back with a vengeance. I dug their little fly-infested, stinking souls out of the ground again. This time, I relented and got the boiling water out along with a trash bag. But, being my lazy self, I just hit one small area with the water and decided to see how the rest goes with just being removed and tossed in the trash – at least I didn’t leave them in the middle of the driveway this time.

I went out five minutes ago to check again. I only saw two small Stinkhorns which I quickly removed. And that was all great, but then I found THIS! What the heck are these?!?

small mushrooms

The battle continues.

Next battle: RABBITS!

Have you had Stinkhorns in your yard? How’d YOU get them out?