Finished up the last of the gardening classes and got some great info on when to start seeds indoors and some composting info. Starting the seeds is easy if not simple because timing is everything. Having folks that grow a large garden and have the timing down for the local area is a huge help to me. Also these ladies have jobs and personal gardens along with volunteering at the “Church” garden. They don’t stress turning a compost pile, weeding, watering or daily working in a garden because they have jobs, lives and families. Yet the church garden produced over 4000 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks and they kept up their own gardens, compost piles and daily lives. If gardening is your life that is great, but I want gardening to be a part of my life, not my whole life.
I have budgeted a new raised bed garden set up based on what I have learned and over all I have a solid if not perfect base to build upon. I’m excited to start a concrete block compost bin setup with hardware cloth to “strain” out the usable compost from my bins. I already have the blocks on hand so the only cost will be the hardware cloth, time and physical energy. As I have read about composting it was a daily thing. Not so much according to these gardening ladies. Turning the compost once a week or even twice a month is okay. No, your compost won’t break down as quickly but that is not a bad thing when you focus on Spring and Fall feeding of a garden.
I will have to set out stakes for getting all the dimensions of the new garden beds built that replaces my large garden bed. What is nice is all of my old landscaping timbers can go to Mom’s place and help her define her landscaping areas.
One thing I can say is I’m not a big fan of straw as mulch but it does seem great at make a brick like layer when mixed with the local clay/alkali soil. Straw mixed with chicken poo can be great in a compost heap or in a garden but scraping up those dense layers after 3 years of having a chicken house is not fun.
The plan of attack for next week is to clean up the chicken pen/house remnants. Build a concrete brick box for finished compost. Stake out the area for the new raised beds and get the materials to build the new beds. Start pruning the trees around my house. With my copious free time/ physical energy, I need to help Mom install some big curtain rods, predator proof her chicken run and help her move stuff from my shop to her shops.
Everything we have to get done is very simple, but that does not mean it will be easy. Monday looks like a low wind day and Mom is coming into town so we can load up the Kia with some furniture Mom wants at her place and get at the chicken run predator proofed with chicken wire.
One last FYI on how warm the house is staying. I’m sure it both the addition of vinyl siding + insulation but the biggest difference is good windows. I believed the new windows has made a difference in heating the house because the back part of the house regularly hits the upper 70’s just using wood heat. The house holds heat much better over night especially on windy days or nights. The summer test will be interesting because I don’t have to install a window A/C unit in her room. My plan is use just one window unit in my bedroom this summer for keeping cool to sleep and use fans to cool the rest of the house this summer. I’ll set up the large portable A/C in case it is needed but I hope with the new windows and siding last fall, the house will stay cooler this summer.
Lots of new and things happening as Mom has a bunker to replace the basement. Perhaps not a bunker but a really good size storm shelter/ root cellar. I have no idea how things will work out but it should be fun to try out new things and see how they work out. Speaking for myself I find many projects can seem overwhelming at first but once you start breaking them down into small size chunks daily or weekly. Those tasks seem a lot more manageable.
Such as: This week start snow peas
Next week start broccoli, cabbages and maybe some micro-greens. Prepare garden beds. Just a bunch of simple steps to take, if not all of them are not easy or cheap.