Saturday, May 3, 2014

DIY Compost Bin & Garden Update

The project for this week was the compost bin.  It is nearly done but I started putting compost layers in it today.
This bin is 3 feet tall, 3 feet deep, 8 feet long  and divided in 2 parts.  I used left over pavers Dad had and some a friend gave me and had just enough to create the 'floor'.  Mom had bought me ten 1" x 6" x 8' cedar boards so I started with those for the back and sides.  It was not enough but I had just been given free used lumber, 2 trailer loads from a horse barn.  All but one piece of the slats is cedar.  The 1"x4" uprights came from the free lumber and Dad had the 2"x2"s I used in each corner.

Each board has a coat of primer and 2 coats of paint, I only had to buy some more primer and some more screws to put it together.  Mom had gotten the black plastic when we bought the clear plastic for the little greenhouse.  A friend here has told me with the dryness and the winds you have to use plastic to hold in the moisture.  

For now the bin on the left will hold extra 'browns' like leaves and dry grass we had piled up and the right side will be the working pile.  I'll be covering it with more black plastic to hold in moisture, later on I may create a lid and doors for the front.

Some of this "Recycled Garden" is doing well:
I am over loaded with basil in the top left, radishes in the top center have been pulled and we are eating them, 2 jalapenos in the top right coming along.  The 2 bottom pots have New Zealand spinach and the pot on the left has 2 carrots that sprouted after I replanted the pot with spinach.
Pots of sage, a store bought tomato and a pot of romaine we have been eating off of, all doing well.
2 more store bought heirloom tomatoes doing well, beets around the edge doing ok, tomatoes I planted from seed are still 2" tall and look to be dying.  I have no idea what is wrong and it's 2 different varieties.  I have 4 more in a pot and they are doing better, they get more sun.  Maybe this bed needs to be for greens only.  I may move some stuff around.
The beans are decidedly not doing well now that the sun is hitting them since I took off the lattice that kept the cats out.  The soil gets dry way too fast, the beans came up sporadically and now have wilty yellowing leaves.  These are the yellow beans and look much better than the green ones. 

Those olla pots lose water pretty fast, about every 3 days but that is about what I expected with the heat and sun and drying winds.
Both the Ranger and Alberta trees have a nice amount of peaches on them but sadly none of the 20 bare root strawberries seem to have made it.  It may be too hot and dry in the cement block holes.  I'll try something different next year.

Only 1 okra came up of the near 50 seeds I planted and it does not look happy.  I bought a cucumber and it does not look happy either, looks burned on the edges of the leaves.  Perhaps I got too much manure in that bed?  Have no idea.  Remember this is the 1st time I have tried to plant a real garden and the 1st time I have tried starting seeds.

Addenda:  My gardening friend came over and said I needed to add compost into the soil and cover with lots of straw.  This will hold in the moisture and should solve the problems.  Today I picked up some bagged organic compost and a bale of straw.

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