I didn’t think I would get everything picked before the frost hit but it got done. I ended up with two, 3 gallon buckets of tomatoes that are mostly green, a bucket of sqash and a bucket of celery. Not a bad haul from the garden in November. I can take my time with the clean up of the beds now that all the veggies are pulled. I’m sort of excited to see how much difference adding my own compost and a layer of straw mulch will do imnproving the garden beds next spring. I got the leaf blower out and started blowing all the leaves towards the compost pile to add a brown through the winter. I will have the sawdust from cutting the mill ends for fire wood. I’m not sure if I can keep the pile hot and working through the winter but I figure I might as well give it a shot.
This year’s garden taught me a lot about how to take advantage of making my own compost and how it is work but it is worth the effort. I learned I could grow a lush garden all by myself which was a huge boost to my confidence. There have been a few times I have been ready to give up on the whole growing a garden idea the last few years but I’m very glad I kept at it. I learned how to use compost as well as mulch on my lawn and what big difference it made in saving water as well as helping build the soil. I sort of thought of dirt as just a medium for growing plants rather than it being alive and something that needs care to be healthy.
I have a busy week planned for cleaning the yard and doing some pruning and trimming my trees and bushes. A neighbor and I just cut my holly’s back like crazy last spring and I thought we would kill them but the bushes came back during summer and put on a lot of great growth filled out and look great as a shorter bushes but with thicker growth. I was told trimming them back so radically could kill the holly’s but it was not true. My hope is by trimming back the holly and adding compost to the lawn this fall I will improve the soil and open up the lawn to a bit more sunlight. It’s sort of strange to work on the lawn this fall when what I would like to do is create a perma-culture food forest sort of thing next spring. I figure having the grass and soil healthy is best while I work in the food forest idea next year. Bare soil is not healthy soil and a lot of my my work to start will consist of making paths and creating zones as I can afford to add planting beds.
Last but not least I stopped by lowes for some LED light bulbs they had on sale for $3.98 per 40 watt equivalent bulb that uses 6.5 watts of electricity. So far I like the bulbs as they don’t hum like CFLs and the color is a “warm white” which is an improvement over the CFL color light. Supposedly the LEDs use about a dollar’s worth of electricity per year and last for 16 years if you use the light 3 hours a day on average. I replaced incandescent bulbs I had in two bedrooms reading lights and the main lamp I using in the living room and I would say that the LED is actually closer to replacing a 60 watt bulb rather than a 40 watt. One small downside I noticed is all of the light comes from the top of the bulb and there is not as much downward light compared to an incandescent bulb because of the LED bulbs larger base blocking a bit of that light. The LED bulbs are also noticeably heavier than a CFL or incandescent light bulb.
The LED bulbs are more expensive in up front costs but I figure it is going to add up to long term savings. Theoretically I could use 15 of these 6.5 watt LEDs to replace the power usage of one, 100 watt light bulb. When you are using a backup or off grid energy source, anywhere you can save watts/power is a very big deal. Heck with rising a electrical costs these bulbs could be the difference of keeping some lights on or sitting in the dark. Now that I have seen the light these LED bulbs put out I think I will add another 3 bulbs to replace the bathroom lighting bulbs and then start replacing other light bulbs here at Casa de Chaos as I can afford them. I would really like to replace a couple of the light bulbs in my shop with a couple of the higher wattage LEDs to improve the lighting and not worry about replacing them so often.