Tag Archives: organic

Good Black Gold

7 Jun

Compost bin- third layer- old potting soil

 

The ideology of sustainability in gardens and farming has been part of my lexicon for a very long time. Given that the earth has traditionally provided its own resources, and given that reliance on foreign resources is relatively recent, it just makes sense to have the earth work within itself. It wasn’t until I became a gardener that I transferred that ideology into practical concrete actions.

Part of that recycle, upcycle living means composting, and I was ashamed that I wasn’t practicing what I viewed as essential. Well, no more.

Last weekend, I created my first compost bin. A week later, and I am already craving to create another.

A free vet supplies bin. Go to vet clinics, they will be more than willing to get rid of some of these!

I found this vet supplies bin for free which locks itself so that no critters can open it. I whipped out the hand drill (god, how I love power tools!) and using the biggest bit, drilled holes on all sides.

I filled the first part with brown organic materials, mainly dried leaves left over from the fall.

For the second layer, I added some organic fertilizer and some store bought mushroom compost I had been using on the garden soil. This acts as an activator, I read.

The third layer is old potting soil that needs nutrients.

The last layer is all veggie waste, scraps from the kitchen, and coffee grounds. Refer to this list for knowing what to put in there and what not to.

I mixed the layers well and poured some water, enough to make it moist but not wet.

Now, time for the sun to do its job!

I read quite a few articles on composting and opted to do what feels most natural to me, which ends up borrowing from several of those sources. I’ll include those links at the bottom.

In a mere few days I have seen the colors change in the bin, and I am itching to create a new one to keep filling with kitchen waste. We eat a LOT of veggies and fruits a day, we need to compost the peels!

I’m excited about growing black gold for the garden, and being one step closer to sustainability. Water conservation, well, that’s another story… one step at a time…

Here are some of those sources I consulted:

http://www.composting101.com/

http://vegweb.com/composting/

http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html

http://www.howtocompost.org/

When you’re away…

5 Jun

Unknown. Flowers at Denver Botanic Garden.

Over the last week, I had an out of town visitor, leaving me with little time for the garden. As part of a “tour” of Colorado, we visited the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was my first time there, and although it’s not as impressive as some on the East coast (although I since have heard that the Chatfield Botanic Garden is without a doubt more impressive), it was still pretty awesome. What could be better than being surrounded by plants, plants, and more plants? (Most did not have labels, much to my frustration)

Roof of Ting at Denver Botanic Garden.

I loved the Ting. Both this one in particular as well as the concept. A ting is a Chinese covered resting place in a garden. It’s a place to rest from the walk, take shelter from rain (as we had to do), and I would add, a place to reflect and express gratitude for the grandiosity of nature.

View from inside the ting

The week has passed and I am back to my routine, my garden, my meditation. While I was away, my plants wept at my absence. Early blight set on (or was it powdery mildew?). I found them sad, with yellow spots on their leaves, and barely grown. I sprinkled cornmeal around their base. Cornmeal is miraculous. Within two days new leaves had sprouted, and they grew about an inch. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers all had it, and then didn’t. Cornmeal is a staple in my garden from now on.

Ildi tomato leaves. Was it blight or powdery mildew? Either way, cornmeal did the trick!

My tobacco plant was infested with June beetle bugs. They have devoured the beautiful leaves. I opted for a garlic spray this time. I chopped a garlic head, added boiling water and a tiny bit of vegetable oil, and let it sit for a few minutes, strained it, and poured it into a spray bottle. I sprayed the leaves, the bottom, the top, even a bit on the soil and around the pot. It worked! The leaves are still pretty chewed up, and the bugs came back two days after spraying, so I have to continuously spray them.

I love how there’s always a challenge in gardening. Boring, it definitely is not. There’s always a mysterious bug, or fungi to take care of. It keeps one on one’s toes. My garden might not look like the Denver Botanic Garden, but it’s mine, all organic, and as sustainable as I can make it with my resources. I nourish it, but in the end, it also nourishes me.

%d bloggers like this: