Well now that I have posted about the worms and the Herbs it’s time to update you on the Veggie garden. It started out a little rough. First we planted before Easter which I quickly learned was a no, no. Our seedlings popped up in a week! The photos of the beans were taken after about 2 weeks. The rest were taken after 4 weeks!
But then disaster struck…the dreaded last frost hit on the very weekend we decided to go out of town and were not home to protect our plants! We came home and the bean plants were brown and laid over. So sad was I that I couldn’t bear to take a picture. We also lost the broccoli and one beet plant. Luckily all the other plants made it. We decided to replant the beans but this time with kidney beans, navy beans, and black beans:
The result 2 weeks later:
Oh my goodness! How much fun is this?!
Here is this weeks pics:
If you are wondering what the brown stuff is, it’s cinnamon. Why, you ask? Because ants apparently hate the stuff!
Yes, yes I know it all looks the same! But I just had to get it from every angle. I am so excited!
Yes I know a lot of my posts have been about the worms , but I have more this time! I told you that I wanted to plant some herbs right? Well I finally did it! I also cheated and bought some plants. We planted: Rosemary, Basil, Cilantro, and Parsley seeds. We bought, Rosemary, Cilantro, Lavender, Lemon Balm, and Basil plants to get started. The dirt I used was from our worm compost. This stuff was super fertile! But it was very difficult to get all of the baby worms and eggs out of. The original dirt has now turned into dark black, clumpy compost. It was wet when I started separating and filling the pots but also a little hard.
I read and watched a video about sifting through your compost to make it light and fluffy for planting. It also helps to separate the worms out. Unfortunately there isn’t a very easy way to get the eggs out because they are so tiny. So some of them were sacrificed. Well they made it into the pots anyway. I read this after I had already filled my little herb pots.
I had looked up a bunch of different ways to grow your herbs and I finally picked one! Here is what ours looks like:
I love it! Hubby of course made it for me using a 2×4 and some rope. It was super easy to make and looks great on my front porch! For the labels on the pots I used Chalk board spray paint:
As you can see I had already been using it and made a mess. I did not spend a ton of time trying to make the lines perfect and you may find an easier way to do it, but for mine I used painter’s tape:
Then just prayed. Now, you need to know, this stuff runs! Bad. So make sure that your tape is secured tight.
Now they are ready to be written on.
So about the compost, after reading about sifting I asked Matt to make me one. This also turned out to be an easy project. A little time consuming, but easy! First your materials:
It worked great but we have learned a thing or two. Finished compost is wet and hard. So instead of sifting through it to use as potting soil, I am going to try compost tea. No I have no intention of drinking this tea. But my plants will love it! First I have read that using city water with chlorine in it is not recommended. The chlorine will kill off vital bacteria that your plants need. But that’s all we have. City water. So the suggestion was to fill a bucket up with the water and sit it in the sun for about two days. The sun will evaporate the chemicals and leave you with fresh water. The next step is to put the finished compost in the water and let it steep in a dark place for 5-7 days. Strain it, then pour this liquid gold into your garden! I’m gonna give it a try and let you know how it goes.
By the way…if you loved my hanging garden but don’t feel like making it yourself, holla. The hubs and I will do it for you!
Yep you read it right…I’ve got worms! Not the kind you are thinking of, but these guys:
Those folks are Red Wigglers or more affectionately called “Reds” at least by the guy at Bass Pro Shop. These guys are great for composting all of your organic trash and biodegradable things. They break it down by eating all the time. The result: Wonderful food for flowers, veggies, herbs…anything green. Yea I know that it all comes from their poop and pee and maybe that’s a little gross but…if it makes my food happy enough to feeds me later why not?
So Matt and I went to Bass Pro Shop and bought 60 fishing ‘Wigglers” for our compost pile. Here is what we used for ours:
A 25 gallon plastic tub with a top to keep all the rain and sunshine out (they are kind of like vampires…they hate the sunlight!)
Top soil (cheap cause I’m cheap)
Organic trash (banana peels, tops of carrots…you know everything you don’t actually eat but is actually eatable.)
We wanted to start small that’s why we chose only a 25 Gallon plastic tub. But you can go as big as you want! First we drilled some holes all the way around the lip of the container so that they can breathe. Then we drilled two small holes at the bottom edge. Why you ask? Well they also produce this amazing juice. Yuck right? But wait! Not so fast. This stuff is awesome to water your plants with! Seriously they love it! Matt built a cool little table for my compost bin to sit on so that I could place a 5 gallon paint bucket under the holes to catch this great stuff. Once we drilled our holes we put the top soil in. Then the worms. Then the trash. Now, I have read some articles that say you can add some meat and bones to your compost. I have no intention of doing that however. Worms totally prefer rotted veggies and fruits to rotting flesh and bone. Another thing to remember is keep the dirt moist! It keeps your worms very happy. 🙂 But don’t over water them! For instance, the dirt we bought was already wet so we didn’t add any water to it until today almost a week later. Even then we only sprayed it lightly. How much to feed them? Welllllll that depends on how many worms. I’ve read that they eat their body weight and sometimes more in food. So if you have a pound of worms then they will eat a pound of food a day. Just keep an eye on how quickly they make the food disappear. If it starts to stink stop putting food in there! Give them a chance to eat what they already have. Yea learned that already.
As far as how many worms to get goes…I have no idea! 60 seemed a good start. They reproduce…umm…a lot! So 60 will soon turn into many many more. Who wants to go fishin’ eh?
Anyway I’ve been told that once a month you need to pour all of your dirt and worms onto some sort of smooth surface like a large piece of ply wood or sheet of metal. The best time is when the sun is high because it causes your worms to go to the middle of the pile where its the darkest. The purpose of this is to harvest their poop. Ew! I lost ya didn’t I? Once again this stuff is great for your plants! Once you separate the poop from the dirt (I’ve heard that you can tell the difference once it dries a little) Then you go after your worms. Time to weigh them all to make sure that your bin isn’t getting too populated. What to do with the extra worms? Take ’em fishin’!
Also be sure to keep your compost in the shade and consider moving it into a shed or garage on the really hot days. Remember worms like it dark, cool, and plenty of food. Also don’t worry about them leaving their new home. As long as there is plenty of food, water, and dirt they will stay put!
Do you have a compost pile? How did it go? Please comment!
Ok so by now you all have discovered that I like to do it myself right? I want so much to live as simply as I can. At the risk of sounding 90 years old may I say that all of these new fangled gadgets and gizmos are great for emergencies but…all day everyday? (As I use my computer right? Ha!) It’s rather sad really. I remember a much simpler time when if you were not home you had an answering machine that took messages and the person on the other end had to wait for you to call back. It was a lot less stressful wasn’t it? We would play outside until dark and used our imaginations. Ahhh to go back…
Anyway all that to say this…we planted a garden…again. We honestly haven’t had all that much success in the past because…erm…life is busy. This year however WILL be different! It has to be! If for no other reason then I just said it has to be!
So last Saturday was beautiful here in middle GA! We stayed outside for most of the day drinking up the sunshine ad getting our garden started. We had put in a raised garden bed last year but while in the process of moving all of our plants died. 😦 So this year we used it again.
First we put this great stuff called Black Kow from Lowe’s on top of the old soil:
Then we put the cheapest potting soil with fertilizer in on top of that. Then Black Kow, then potting soil. This will revitalize the old soil and nourish our veggies.Then we planted the seeds directly into the dirt. No plants this time. We have always just planted the plant so I’m a little nervous about this. Weird huh? Seeds are supposed to just grow right?
So here is what it looks like so far:
As you can see I marked each square with what looks like a wooden paint stirrer. Actually it’s left over slats from some crates we made at Christmas, but that’s neither here nor there. We planted cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and onions. Yep that all fit in that tiny garden. By the way it’s 4ftX4ft raised garden. I am super excited and I really want it to work this time! I also plan to plant a small hanging herb garden. I will keep you updated on that one!
I will post more pics when they pop up!
Do you have a garden? Do you have a green thumb? Do you have some great do’s and don’ts? Please leave a comment and share!
Refashioning, Recycling, and Creating A Better Environment