Friday, October 25, 2013

Compost Bin Upgrade: Next Summer's Brown Gold

A few weeks ago, I added a new compost bin: an attempt to gather the garden's trimmings and fall's leaves and make some use from them.

I was startled by how quickly it filled up. And stuff was falling out from the open front.

We needed to think this through better. This was not going to work. 

So I doubled its size, and added a gate: a few more (free) pallets, a handful of screws to hold it together (seriously: only eight or ten), and a makeshift hings (which I'll describe later). 

We've decided to process the goods coming into this bin: ideally we'd use a chipper, but we don't have a chipper.

So we use a lawnmower. We mow up the greens we've pulled out of the garden (and our neighbor contributes), and we use the mower to vacuum up leaves: ours and others off of sidewalks in the neighborhood.

I've developed this practice: every time I add a mower bag full of greens (high nitrogen) or browns (high carbon), I also add two or three shovels full of  horse manure, so that it composts together.

The gap has two purposes. The strategic purpose is so that we can walk in and carry an armful of leaves or garden trimmings without needing to stop and open the gate.

The real reason is that I made this out of pallets; this is the size of pallet I had.

I also added a board across the bottom: holding in some of the leaves.

This is how the gate is working: heavy duty eye screws with a piece of 3/8" rebar. The (scrap) rebar is pounded about 18" into the ground: it also stabilizes the wall that the hinge is on. It's working very well, and it was inexpensive and simple.

All together, this bin has cost maybe $3.50 and less than an hour's work to build. (It will take considerably more than an hour to fill and turn regularly!)

It's not beautiful, but beautiful would have cost $50 or more, and taken quite a lot longer. Maybe later.

Finally, every time

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall in the Garden

Just documenting the garden in the fall.

There's not a lot of sense to this post. 

Second batch of peas. Didn't know you could do a second batch of peas.

Got a happy sun-choke in among them.

And a second batch of radishes down below.
Kale was everywhere. Here there's kale among the carrots.
I've never grown leeks before. I grew these by accident. Grew them from seed. Took a long time. I lost track of them, but I think they took more than a year.
Milady, gathering the last of the outdoor tomatoes.
This is your basic artsy-fartsy shot. This tomato plant started as a weed. Pretty cool weed.
Peppermint, growing in huge pots, back behind the garage. Made a lot of peppermint tea this summer.
This is the second batch of onions. I harvested the others in two groups; pretty well cleared out this bed. But I had some that were struggling indoors. So I planted them out here. They're doing pretty well. 

The biggest hero this year was the kale.

I enjoy kale in soups and casseroles, and even in scrambled eggs. The chickens love kale in the afternoon.
Garlic is planted here.

Covered this, and pretty much the whole garden, with aged horse manure.
Kale and chard are from storebought seeds. Onion and carrots from our seeds.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Have A Pineapple!

This is the single most exciting thing to happen in our greenhouse since its creation.

Every time we get a pineapple for the barbecue, I cut off the top and try to grow it. I've gotten one or two plants to grow a little bit, but they all died in the end.

This one seems to be doing better! I put it in a shallow bowl of water for a few days, but I kind of forgot about it until the top of the pineapple plant rotted away, leaving just the leaves, attached to gooey mess.

So I planted the leaves with the gooey mess. And most of the leaves died. But the last leaf wouldn't die. So I just kept watering the pot. It was in a saucer: I kept the saucer full of water.

I stopped paying attention to the plant; I just watered the plant regularly. I finally had a chance to look at it. And lo and behold: There's a pineapple growing!

I'm pretty excited.