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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Compost Bins, 1, 2, 3

The compost bins are finally up. It took far longer than we expected. Our biggest obstacle was definitely the weather. It's been oppressively hot. If we couldn't get out to the garden before 7am, the best we could manage was a couple of hours before the heat did us in. It's been triple digits for weeks around here, with no end in sight.
We also ran into organizational problems. We thought we had all the crucial items on the materials' list and we didn't, so there went a whole day of workable time. To add insult to injury, this happened twice!
And then there was husband-evaporus. Greg could only be here for a few days in the last couple of weeks and I've been working the poor guy to a frazzle with one honey-do project or another. The compost bins were not that high on the priority list, but he managed to fit it in.
The bins are done though--all three of them, 8 foot deep by 4 foot wide. We probably won't have mature compost in time for next spring's planting, but hopefully we can have at least one bin ready by next fall.
Garden 2009: We didn't know what we were going to run into when I planted. I didn't have much time to prepare so I took a chance and threw some seeds out there. The soil closest to the potting shed is the poorest. The back 30 feet is better but not by much. Despite the lack of nutritional amendments the harvest has been surprisingly good--so far.
Next year will be better!
At least I have my bins. In a couple of years I expect some really nice soil and lots of earthworms. All thanks to Greg.

In the beginning, there were trees. Lots and lots of trees. As well as assorted shrubbery. I'm pretty sure Greg said some unkind things about me when I showed him where I wanted to put the compost bins. But it really was the best place. And that shrubbery had to go anyway. I think someone with Monty Python was looking for it.

Ah, that's better. Nothing beats a nice clean area to work in.

The first cut. I try never to operate loud machinery with angry, rotating teeth. I've been known to shed blood with a butter knife, so Greg courageously does all the cutting. I'm quite the dangerous damsel--but mostly to myself.

Chain saw. Check.

Post hole digger. Check.

4-foot Level. Check

2x4's. Check.

4x4's. Check.

Welded wire fencing...Rats!

A ride into town.

Fencing nails...Double Rats!

Be back soon.

This must be how Stonehenge got started. We had to deal with an awkward slope of the land and then we discovered we had the wrong length for one of the 4x4's, so we made do with what we had.

Naked Bins.

We kept waiting for the fence elves to finish sheathing the skeleton, but as usual they were drunk or passed out, so it was left to us. Damn elves!

The finished product. Close to the garden, water and sunshine.

Future home of percolating new soil.

One project down, hundreds more to go.

And how about you, dear readers: What's been on your project list?

Copyright © 2009 Maria Zannini --


Mike Keyton said...

Wonderful stuff!

My project? Lose some weight without too much work. Reading of Greg's exploits in the Texan sun should do it :)

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: Reading of Greg's exploits in the Texan sun should do it.

You'd think, huh?

I swear I don't know how people around here managed before air conditioning.

Marianne Arkins said...

I've never seen composters that weren't enclosed (to cook the stuff)... I'll be interested in seeing how yours do.

I actually BOUGHT earthworms to add to my soil (and then fed them for a while, lol -- used my blender to blend all my fruit/veggie leftovers and did four holes around my garden and poured it in every day!). My fave website to putz around on and think of things to buy: -- I've bought milky spore, earthworms and praying mantids from them so far.

Have fun! Wish you could send some of that heat here, and I'd share our constant rain.

Maria Zannini said...

We'd love some rain.

Open air compost bins work fine here. The sheer volume of material produces plenty of heat. To keep it cooking and breaking down the material, I have to water it regularly and turn it over on occasion.

Ref: worms
We raised worms several years back in a raised bin. Then one day our chickens were on a walkabout and found them accidentally. The great earthworm slaughter of '86 was the stuff of chicken legend.

Marianne Arkins said...

The great earthworm slaughter of '86 was the stuff of chicken legend.

I'm going to be laughing about this for a while... *snort* ...

Poor wormies.

Maria Zannini said...

Yup. We wore black armbands for a month. ;o)