Do You Compost?

We’ve moved a lot and the last composting pile I had was in Sparks when we owned our own home. I’ve been turning over the garden in our newest place and decided I wanted a compost pile.

So I made one last night…using a dog training crate that came with a botched dog adoption off of Craig’s list.

From the Back to Basics Traditional Kitchen Wisdom book (LOVE THIS BOOK!) they said to pick a site that’s level, well-drained, and sunny. So I set up the kennel out back near the old grape vine where it will have sun practically all day.

What to Compost?

Greens such as grass clippings, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit & vegetable peelings, and plant cuttings, alfalfa hay, green weeds that have not seeded (except for pernicious weeds). The “greens” rot fast and will provide nitrogen.

Browns such as newspaper (non-glossy paper), leaves, cardboard egg cartons (but I save those to give to local chicken folks), straw, non-treated wood shavings. Browns provide fiber, carbon and air into the mix.

Water…make sure everything stays damp.

Air…turn over your mixture to introduce oxygen.

I’m going to throw in a container of fishing worms for good measure…they say red worms or red wrigglers are the best ones as they thrive on kitchen waste.

Items that should NOT go onto you pile are chemically treated wood products, diseased plants, human and pet waste, meat or bones, fatty food waste, milk products, and pernicious weeds (plants that are destructive to other plants in their midst are sometimes characterized as pernicious weeds).

Gardening Supplies ~ Cool Finds

I’m taking a small break from training here at work and was looking at a email sent by The Gardener's Supply Comany online magazine…just thought I’d share a few good ideas and some items I find interesting.

In their last email they have an article on growing a Kitchen Garden in containers by Kathy LaLiberte HOW TO GROW A KITCHEN GARDEN IN CONTAINERS

Best Vegetables for Containers

Potatoes, chard, lettuce, cherry and bush tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, Asian greens, pole beans. And don’t forget herbs!

Planting Depth

Here are the minimum soil depths for healthy growth. Keep in mind that you can get by with less depth if you use a Self-Watering Planter.

4-5 inches: chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander
6-7 inches: bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, Asian greens, peas, mint, thyme
8-9 inches: pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary
10-12 inches: beets, broccoli, okra, potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, dill, lemongrass

More useful articles by Kathy LaLiberte, THE INNOVATIVE GARDENER ~ lots of different articles in the following catagories: Spring Gardening, Backyard Habitat, Flower Gardening, Vegatable Gardening, Composting & Soil, Container Gardening, and Weather Protection

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BIODEGRADABLE COWPOTS…these transplant pots are made by two dairy farmers in Connecticut…they were trying to figure out an environmentally responsible way to dispose of cow manure. (I’m pretty sure I saw this on DIRTY JOBS with Mike Rowe!!!!)

Completely biodegradable pots transplant directly into garden
Add nutrients to the soil as they degrade
Larger size pot for robust transplants
Roots grow through and take natural fertilizer with them
Eliminates transplant shock
Two sizes, both sold in sets of 12

**** Hee! I was right ~ Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs DID do a segment on the Cowpots! HERE IT IS!…I just love Mike.

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BIOBAG Composting Pail Liners ~ they are made of 100% biodegradable cornstarch, so you can toss the whole thing into your compost bin.

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This is a neat bee house ~ MASON BEE HOUSE…here are the instructions on using the house. I guess they aren’t like honey bees in that they don’t use a hive. I’m not even sure if there are those type of bees in the Sparks, NV area…but I do have lots of bees in my yard, as I have Russian Sage and Lavender all over. When I’m weeding near the lavender they always keep me company…not once have I ever been stung and there would be 20 of them flying around me.

****Info I found on Orchard Mason Bees from the Washington State University site. I’m pretty sure I don’t remember seeing a wee blue bee in my yard.
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Ok…I have to get back to work now. :(