It was a very orange day in the garden today! A tomato, a pepper and a pumpkin!
And all my hostas are preparing to bloom. This is right outside the back door, in our courtyard area.
This is a recent project, my new compost pile! I had a compost pile at the rental house but having moved in here in February, it was hardly weather to make a new pile here. But everytime I threw away an apple peel or egg shell, I felt like I was throwing good nutrients and next year's compost out the window! What a waste of good soil amendments! So I finally got around to putting some poles in the ground and wrapping it with hardware cloth.
My compost tips:
-My compost pile is about 3 feet square and is made from 4 metal T-posts and 1 roll of 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth. Cheap and easy!
-I've seen a lot of plans for circular compost piles that are just hardware cloth made into a cylinder. My question for these is, how exactly do you stir the pile if's completely enclosed? I prefer an open pile that I can dig into with a stick or pitchfork each time I add something new. Stirring is important to compost to evenly break down all components.
-Make sure your compost pile is in a shady area. Sunshine will dry it out too fast and bake the organic matter to a crisp, not letting it decompose to a nice, rich compost.
-They (compost experts) say to water it frequently. I think this is a waste of water. A good pile, built in a shady spot, will keep a nice moist interior without your help. Yes, it may take a few more months for your pile to ripen but what do you have more of, time or money for a high water bill? I'll let you decide. (I don't water many things, besides seedlings right after their planted. I am stingy with the water.)
-If you have dogs, either make sure your pile is enclosed, add a gate to the front (hardware cloth panel or wooden pallet) or (if you have a dog like Sully who won't dig too much) make sure each time you add choice bits like melon rind or corn cobs that you bury them down in the leaves and grass clippings.
-Do not add meat, dairy products, sugary items or dog/cat poo. Plants like to eat other plants so keep it limited to veg. matter, and maybe some egg shells if you bury them well to keep the rodents out. If you have chickens or rabbits, their poo is just fine. Plant-eaters' poo=good, meat-eaters' poo=not good. Newspaper is ok if you shred it and don't add too much at one time. Large branches and wood chips will need to be sifted out for several cycles before they will decompose so I try not to add those.
-I keep an old Tupperware container on the counter (think Rachel Ray's garbage bowl) that I put scraps in and take out every day. I like something that is sealable just in case you have ants that crawl in the window screen like we do!
Another recent addition to our back porch is this bench, but it is not new to me. My parents have had this bench since before I was born. They found it at a garage sale, missing on spindle. My dad took the bark off a branch, whittled the ends and stuck it in there. When I mentioned to my mom that I wanted a storage bench for taking my shoes off and storing garden tools, she offered it to me but come to find out, years of being left on the back porch at their house had left it in disrepair. My dad was kind enough to rebuild it and paint it black, just for me! I love having something that has been a part of our family for so long. No, it's not an heirloom from hundreds of years ago, but the story behind it reminds me of what frugal, resourceful people my parents are.