Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lettuce & Peas

After all this rain, the lettuce has gone crazy.  Also, my peas are starting to grow up too.  Tomorrow I will put in trellis and critter-proof the garden by adding some chicken wire.  

The square-foot method was an afterthought, so the peas are not really planted correctly.  I also to understand how to be compact about tomatoes.  They take up so much room, but the book says to use a trellis for them.  I bought some trellis netting from their site.  Square Foot Gardening and am going to build some tomorrow.

This is the 2nd year I've tried to start flowers from seed and with no luck.  I suppose I need to start earlier because I want them to be bloomed right NOW.  The only ones that are doing any good are the geraniums and the portulacus.  Oh and the marigolds and Zinnas that the boys planted.  Seems like the flowers do well when they are started from seed in the pot that they are gonna stay in.  Transplanting them doesn't seem to work and they get so leggy when in peat pellets inside. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Facilitating poo

This year has been the year of becoming more of an organic gardener.  From considering raising chickens to creating my own compost, I have caught the garden bug.  This weekend, after reading up on various different composting solutions, we decided to make our own.  Something pleasing to the eye and large enough to continually fertilize my garden year round without the need to till.  After years of religious tilling I have be enlightened as to the do's and don'ts of organic fertilizing.  That said, after about 6 hrs, we have ourselves an awesome composter.  

What I wanted was something that would create enough compost to handle consistent feeding of my 40'x3' raised bed garden.  So I wanted at least a 2-bin system.  Second, I wanted a way to access and rotate the compost easily.  What we came up with was to utilize the design we found from the Lowes website with some subtle modifications.  (not to mention their instructions are a bit flawed).

My husband and I worked together and only two blisters later, I've got a composter that will probably outlast my raised beds.  Here are some pictures of the process:

Framed.  We  used pressure treated wood.  We got the wood at Home Depot.  We were told that the wood no longer contains arsenic and is safe for gardens etc.

In order to handle the top post, we needed to chisel out the back posts.

Frame and posts in place.  We bolted the posts into the frame.

In order to have the front boards slide out, we needed to create some runner rails.  This involved sandwiching a 2x2 board between the front post and a 2x4 board.  This was then bolted in place. 

Back and floor in place.  The boards have 1/4" space between them.  We used a 1/4" nail to make the spaces even.

Preparing the front slats.  The front boards are removable so you can access the compost easily.  Screw in screws to about 1/4" so when you slide them in the top, they will have space between them.

Front boards slide in nicely with the front board runner.

Attaching the wire mesh to the sides.  This was how I got my blisters.  Wire mesh goes in the center divider, and the sides as well as attach to the top lids.

Composter or a great prison for small children :)

Finished product
Lids open.