Saturday, March 15, 2008

" She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." Prov. 31:16

It's mighty late for a Saturday post, but I'm going to add this anyway. After all, I have a good excuse for being away from the computer all day - I had work to do!! Saturdays are always full of preparation for the Lord's day of rest. That means shopping, cleaning ....and often gardening!

Here's an update on our plants:

~ The peas that we planted weeks ago are finally up! I had begun to believe we had planted them too early, and they had died from the cold. But, no, we now have 1" high pea plants!

~ Some of my marigolds are already forming their 3rd set of leaves! Yahoo!

~ Today Dad bought some more tomato plants, which will probably live in our basement until the weather warms.

~ My beets should be coming up some time this week!

~ Yesterday Dad surprised me with some pansies to plant in "my" flower bed in our front yard. They are beautiful yellow and purple. I'll have to take some pictures soon.

~ We have also added some more broccoli to our garden.

Now for a peek at one of our gardening methods.

We have started composting more seriously this year. It all started when I watched a gardening video, got inspired, and challenged three of my younger siblings to see who could maintain the fastest composting pile.

We built our "bins" out of a simple circle of wire fencing, and layered the composting materials inside. When it's time to turn the pile, we simply pull up the bin, move it a few feet over, and shovel everything back in.

The more often you turn the pile, the faster you will get your compost. When the heat of battle first began, my siblings and I were turning our piles every other day (which will give you compost in a few weeks). I'm afraid that now I have slowed to ......well, maybe once a month??? (Shoveling compost in no way compares to planting beets, watering seedlings, or weeding flower beds!)

My brother is doing the best job with keeping up with his pile. Since the picture below was taken (shortly after we started the contest), he has even increased the size of his bin!

So this is the picture of what our bins look like. They line the far side of our garden. (Please excuse the "fall mess." We were just starting to clear the garden and wake it up from its winter sleep.)

If you noticed that a huge amount of our composting material consists of leaves.... well, you're right. My brothers did a lot of raking last fall, for our elderly neighbors, and hauled the leaf piles into our garden. I raked our yard, and also added to the garden. One neighbor has five or six...or maybe seven... huge oak trees in her yard, and we have six big box-elder trees in our we had a lot of leaves.

I mean a lot.


You can't really tell, but in that picture, the bins aren't really sitting on the soil. They're sitting on six or seven inches of hard-packed leaves.

We had to shovel many pounds of leaves out of our garden this spring, just to find the soil.

We have no shortage of leaf mulch. Too bad leaves compost so slowly by themselves! We have to mix in "green" things, like manure and and grass clippings and kitchen scraps....which, all put together, still do not outnumber the leaves.

For those of you who want to try composting, here is a list of common kitchen scraps that are great for your pile:

Egg shells
Coffee grounds
Banana peels
Apple peelings
Potato peelings
...Any fruit or vegetable scraps

DON'T add any grease, meat, shortening, etc. Besides stinking, it will attract rodents. Plus, those things are terrible for your plants.

Anyway, there's my gardening post for the day.

...Anybody want some leaves?

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