Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New compost bin, and sifting compost from it.

 Above: my new compost bin.  The right one has composted that has not yet been sifted.  The left one contains the larger chunks of pieces that were too large to fit through the screen and need further time to decompose.
 Above: wheelbarrow, with my new compost screen, which Steve Isser built for me this week; I just retrieved it today and it's my first time using it.  We stapled hardware cloth with 1/2" squares on it.
 Above: a couple shovelfuls from the bin.  I then slide the screen back and forward, until all the finer pieces fall through.
 Above:  the larger chunks that didn't go through, which I will now dump back into the compost bin to continue their decomposition.
 Above: the good stuff!  sifted compost, complete with worms and other insects that are continuing to break the soil down.  This has the general texture of soil, but with more humus, microbes and nutrients.
Above: a closer look at the good stuff! I got about 20 gallons of great compost sifted this time around.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sukey at my new Place in Ashland

My five-year old cat Sukey, surveying the scene. She doesn't stray very far from here, and I usually know where to look for her when I get home. I live in the railroad district, the downtown area of Ashland, but it's very quiet here because I'm off an alley between streets. I'm two blocks from the main strip with the cinema and the Shakespeare Fest, etc.,and two blocks from the Ashland Food Co-op, a fantastic grocery store that's also a place to see friends. Everything else in Ashland is reachable for me by bike, unless I'm gardening for someone in the hills, in which case I use my truck.
These were taken awhile ago, probably April, when precipitation was still happening; here she's licking up rain off my worm compost bin, right next to my front door.

Above: I put a cardboard box on the deck table, and she started nesting in it.

Putting in new raised beds and plants in the spring at my new house in Ashland

Above and below: See bottom paragraph for full description; this is the largest of the two wooden framed beds my landlady had installed for me. I later removed this alfalfa, added compost and other soil, and then put the alfalfa on top again. Below, you can see the trellised entrance to my little house.
Above: I moved here in December 2010; in April or so (can't remember exactly), Some cool things happened. Above; this is a view of the wooden trellis enclosing my front yard/deck area. You can see straw there on either side of the rosemary, which I planted into with various perennial flowers from my old flower field at Full Bloom, which was eventually tilled under to make room for another farming project. You can see the black pots on the right, full of various perennials -- liatris, eryngium, veronica, monarda, echinops (globe thistle), etc.
Above: Just inside the trellised area, there's a sunny little corner. I had sheet-mulched it here with cardboard and weeds, and on this day my landlady, Rabbitt (below) hired a man (also below, can't remember his name) to build the two frames, one of which went in this spot, and the other went in front of my house (top photo). Behind the two of them, under the tarps, is some amazing compost from a compost specialist in Gold Hill named Denny Morelli, full of microbes, forest duff, and various nutrients. Behind them is the truck with the two bed frames. Sorry, I thought I was downloading these in sequence, but they didn't turn out that way.

The established garden bed at my house in Ashland, in spring

Above and below: grape hyacinths.
Below: crocuses.

Above: This bed was already packed with bulbs and beautiful perennials (a peony in that white-wired area), but I wanted to save some of perennial flowering plants I'd cultivated in my flower field at Full Bloom for three years, so I went out there, dug a bunch up, and planted them here and at other places around my new house. I've been here since December, and these got planted, probably in April.

Worm bin at my current house in Ashland

I must admit that these pictures are from this spring, when my worm bin was happy and healthy. I have since let up on the maintenance and lost my worms. But this is a pretty good picture of a happy, healthy worm bin.
The worms are feasting on all kinds of things -- tea leaves & coffee grounds, fruits & veggies. I don't feed them any meat or processed foods like bread, although some people do and it works fine. I also generally don't put in corn cobs, avocado skins, or any pits from avocados/other fruits, since the worms don't eat them and they take forever to decompose. And I limit the amount of citrus, which worms don't like much.

I got this plastic bin from goodwill for a dollar. It already had holes in the side, which you need so that the worms have air flow. I punched a hole in the bottom right corner, so that the "worm juice" (liquid worm castings) could seep out -- I put a yogurt container below it, which you can see on the right there. It's very user-friendly, and right outside my front door. I've since moved it a short distance away, in a shadier spot.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First flower of the Year!

We planted a bunch of bulbs last November, including these Narcissus "Paper Whites". They were the first to bloom. Soon to come: more daffodils, tulips and other bulbs.

March 1: Tilling the flower field, part 1 (ripping for roses)

The first tilling of the year happened on March 1st. We opened up new ground at the top of the field, and Matt used a ripper to break up the dense sod. Then he disked the ground (pictured in subsequent entries) before roto-tilling and bedding it up for the new rose bushes we'll be planting.

Below: the end product of the ripping, with Willie looking at...something downhill.

March 1: Tilling the flower field, part 47 (The tractor ride!)

OK, these photos are actually backwards in order (start from the bottom and you'll see the chronology). As part of the tilling festivities, Willie got a ride to the field and back on the tractor from Matt, the first time he'd been on a tractor before. He was pretty happy. This was the return trip.

March 1 Tilling the flower field, part 52 (the roses)

Matt discing the new ground at the top of the field. The next step (done but not photographed yet) was that Matt roto-tilled here and then created 4 new beds; the top two will have 70 new rosebushes bought from a local grower, set up on drip irrigation, and the bottom two will be various varieties of cut flowers.

March 1: Tilling the flower field, part sixty

Matt discing the lower half of the field. You can see the finished product at the bottom here. This area will sit and start to grow weedy until I need more bed space, at which point Matt will come in again to roto-till and bed up (i.e., make garden beds). In the meantime I'll be looking for volunteer flowers that've reseeded themselves, which I'll remove and transplant to the upper half of the field.

Bread Delivery December 2009

I did some deliveries for Jo and Rosie's Rise Up! Artisan Bread company. Above is the checklist of the drops to make; below, the goods -- "JCS" stands for "Jacksonville Country Store" and "RCS" stands for "Ruch Country Store". The calculator is for calculating how much $$ in buybacks the bakery has to pay the stores each week.

Above: Baguettes for the Ashland Food Coop and other various breads. The mainstays are ciabatta, ciabatta with rosemary, goat cheese sourdough, sourdough levain, multigrain, spelt, olive levain, fig sourdough, apricot sourdough, the baguettes and a few more I'm not remembering. Below; the full load of bread for the day. This doesn't include the 60 loaves of ciabatta the bakery usually delivers to Lark's, a fancy restaurant in Ashland.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Frosted Mushrooms

Maru's son Willie found these on a walk we took down the road with our dog Lily. I was overwhelmed with awe....Blow these up and blow your mind.