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More Rotting

 Here’s all our food still decomposing! I’ve rotated it twice, and I need to make the mesh “sieve” to let the organic matter fall through to boost our garden soil, and I’m looking for a way to collect the compost “tea” that might run out so that I can sprinkle it around the crops.

 

Another view of both sides of the compost bin:

Indoor Planters

I’ve been using every type of tub, container, and bowl to start my seeds so they are healthy and hearty! I can’t wait to plant them once the frost danger is over. I’m thinking I’ll start them in June.

 Here is one of the containers with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and wax and green beans. I tried to start beans in an old egg carton, but there wasn’t enough room for the roots and they died almost immediately after sprouting. This container will give them much more room!

 

I also have a pumpkin plant started, and it has always gotten very big! Along with a zuchhini plant, too, but the pumpkin is more exciting to me.

I tried transplanting a few kale plants before they were ready and they withered pretty shortly thereafter. I have learned that I need to give them more direct sunlight immediately, so from now on, all my plants in containers will go outside during the day (it’s been about 60s-70s here) and will come inside at night. Those spoiled little seedlings.

Crops thus far

About a month and a half ago, Coen and I started a few indoor “crops” in a little seed pod planter that we got on a groupon special. I also at that time ordered a bunch of organic seeds from an online site, www.groworganic.com .

About a week before the end of February, we planted a few rows of veggies outside. Here they are as of today:

 

 Our lettuce…a little mixy-mix. It looks bigger than it is in this photo…the rock is about an inch and a half wide.

This is our cover crop of winter cereal rye. Once it is about to flower, we’ll till it into the ground to create more organic material and also some air pockets in the soil. Our soil is very rocky and brittle, so I’m hoping this will help it out. We’ll also do a garden-wide cover crop come fall. Then we’ll sick the chickens on it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

I think that these are carrots. I should have labeled. You can see the “junk” we have floating around our flower beds. So far, weeds haven’t been much of an issues, but we’ll have to thin the crops here pretty soon once we see which plants are the bulkiest.

 

 

 Spinach in a different bed (started a few weeks ago).

 

 

 

 

 I’m hoping this is is kale, but I’m not sure.

 

 

 

 Sweet peas! (I’m fairly sure.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first-planted, super spinach! I can’t wait to eat it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching Up & Great News!

Hello, followers and fellow “dirty blog” lovers (so affectionately named by my friend Katie)!

I’m finally catching up on our goings-on from the past few months and we have some great news! We can have laying hens!!

Our friend Mike is raising them and our three lovely ladies are in the “awkward teenage stage” and he put it. They are mostly black in color and are being handled by Mike and his first grade daughter for us.

Completion! Compostion!

Here's our crew at Lowe's getting some (more) goods.

My compost bins are complete! We had a few hang-ups, but I am now a composter. Boy, does it feel good to reserve most of my garbage instead of throwing it in the trash can.

I stopped by a craigslist ad location to pick up more pallet wood and larger sheets of plywood while on a run to purchase some chicken wire (also from a craigslist advertisement). Husband had broken apart almost all of our pallets, and all that  was left to do was purchase nails and get to hammering and wiring!

Eldest son and I spent a morning adding wood slats to the pallets and assembling the bin. I found some large

Our extra-long back pallet with pieces ready for attachment

 boards near the side of our house to quickly and more easily fill in the gaps on the super large wood pallet I picked up at my second free pallets stop.

We got everything in place and I attached the hinges on the bins. Although it wasn’ t my original intent, I had the openings face each other, which will make for much easier compost-shovelling when it’s time to transfer the heap to the other side of the bin.

Buster the dog was happy for something new to mark. Tsk tsk. here you can see the hinges and how the bins open away from each other.

The entire structure is a bit wobbly, especially after we switched locations. Husband was the best EVER and cleared out part of our garden bed. It has much more room for the doors to swing open (notice the bricks and walkway in the way in the above photo) and it was easier to make the ground level. I’m not too concerned about the wobbliness, also, since I’ll only be opening them up twice a month. And maybe it will keep children out… 🙂

Now on to my next task…hen preparation.

the compost bins, take one

This morning, eldest son and I headed over to Toytec & something-or-other for some free pallets with which to create my compost bins. This is my goal end result, and I’m making two since I’m doing the “impatient” form of composting:

click this photo for the instructions online

What is the impatient form of composting? It’s a three-bin system of composting. You basically toss your compost pile from the first bin to the second bin, and back again, and so on and so forth every two weeks. You need to keep the pile damp (not wet), and this bi-monthly movement really speeds up the process of decomposition. Then, when it’s black and very dirt-y, you put it in the third bin because it’s ready for use. You can get a sieve of sorts for when you think your compost is ready to be in your garden, and then you catch all the big chunks that still need to be worked out and made smaller.

My plan is to make two compost bins like so, but assembled. My “done” soil will have its place in my garden or in a special corner of one section of my garden just to the right of where the bins will be stored.

When I brought these beauties home, my husband asked me what I was going to do about the large, gaping holes. I was ignoring those holes and planned to deal with them later. Like when all my compost was falling out and vermin were getting in to eat the scraps. He told me I need to watch myself so that I’m not a step ahead of where I should be. Wise words. I know there are at least a handful of sayings about take your time now, it’ll all be jolly later, blah blah…..and now you see why I’m doing the impatient composting technique.

Husband told me this around 5:30 PM, after nightfall. Those gorgeous mountains to the west really put a damper on our daylight. So, in the dark, we discovered that each pallet was two-sided, and that by taking off a section of boards, we could nail them in between the slats to prevent spillage, but to still let in and out the oxygen. We don’t want any exploding compost bins.

pallet with the front mostly bashed off. yes, husband was wearing a shirt & tie.

 

 

 

these are the slats we are taking off to use to fill the gaps

 

Husband took the sledge hammer and regular old hammer to the pallets while eldest son danced around them and got yelled at because there were rusty nails all over. He battled the wood, rusty nails, and dark just for me…after my tantrum, of course.

It went something like this (embellishments courtesy of my memoragination)*:

Me: Why don’t I know more about tools and using them?
Husband: Because you haven’t used them often enough.
Me: Well, you should stop helping me with this project.
Husband: Why?
Me: Because you don’t care anything about composting.
Husband: But I care about you, so I want to help. But don’t expect me to touch any rotten foods. Gross. (as he shudders)

*I’m 99% sure the words in bold are exactly accurate.

I took my son inside to whip up some chili and potato rolls (from the freezer). We also tried our hand at spinach cake muffins, which are very moist and delicious thanks to weelicious.com’s recipe (http://weelicious.com/2012/01/04/spinach-cake-muffins/).

This entry was posted on January 4, 2012. 1 Comment

a grubby genesis

I’m beginning a blog about my adventures in dirt and those that eat it, those that poop it, those that grow in it, and those that die in it.

My end goal is a successful brood of laying hens, a fertile garden with many good greens, an apple tree, and (someday far, far into the future) milking goats and meat rabbits. (Sorry, Corrine, but Mitch may have to teach me to skin a rabbit.)

I got my extra-large pressure canner for Christmas as well as my mother’s grain grinder and the book The Urban Farm Handbook by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols. Inspiration has struck and stuck, which doesn’t always happen with me. I think it’s all the sunshine getting to me here in Colorado. I even went to the library and checked out AND read two books. About “boring” things like deep litter for chickens and getting the most out of my soil.

I’m going to mess up a lot, make lots of messes, and I’m going to tell you all about it. With pictures, of course. The thing that scares me the most at this point is growing cover crops.

Here is my yard as of three days ago: (Sorry it’s blurry.)

I can’t wait to see it in even just three months!