When it comes to building something new for my garden, I like to use what I have rather than buy something ready made. Today I decided that I needed a new composter for under a tree in the front yard. I have a pile of compost out there that needs to be properly processed.
I found an old tomato cage that I built a few years ago out of concrete reinforcing mesh. I also had some pieces of plastic garden netting that I thought might keep the compost in place yet assure lots of air flow.
Using zip ties (does anybody else love zip ties as much as I do?) I attached the netting to the tomato cage. I moved the new composter to the front yard and filled it with some of the organic material I had piled up. A good soaking with the hose and I’ve got a working compost pile.
A few years ago I made my own upside down tomato planters from fabric and wire baskets. They ended up working fabulously well and lasted for 3 seasons, but this spring I decided that they were looking a little worn out. Time for new planters.
I took three pails which I already had and drilled a one inch hole in the bottom of each. Then I drilled out a spot where there had once been a handle and used a coat hanger to make a new handle. I decided that the red color wasn’t right, so I spray painted them in a new moss green.
To place the tomato plants in the pail I first wrapped them with saran wrap, then gently poked them through the hole until they were safely through. I added soil and adjusted until the plants were at the correct depth. After adding more moisture control soil, I planted a wave petunia on top. Overall I think the new planters turned out pretty well and they cost me only $10 for the paint (which I could have done without).
This year I am pitting three of my Roma tomato plants against each other in a head-to-head competition.
Having read about the benefits of fish heads for tomato plants, I thought I’d give them a small scale (pardon the pun) trial in my garden. I’m also a big fan of worm castings as fertilizer, so I got my hands on some nice fresh worm poop to use as well.
Here’s what I did:
I dug three equally deep holes and planted three of my Mamma Mia tomatoes which I started from seed. In one hole I put two fresh trout heads, four crushed egg shells, six crushed baby aspirin and a small scoop of bone meal. In the second hole I put about a cup of vermicompost. In the last hole I put a small scoop of standard 10-52-10 fertilizer.
Let the games begin! I’ll keep you posted.
Last week my class of Edmonton Master Composter/Recyclers graduated from the 2013 City of Edmonton’s MCR program.
A like-minded group of 28 waste conscious Edmontonians, we spent 40 hours in class and at various sites around the city learning everything and anything about reducing waste, recycling and reuse.
Our job is to now disseminate this wealth of knowledge by sharing it with our friends, families and communities. My plan is to work to educate people about the benefits of grasscycling, composting and overall reduction of materials that needn’t go to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.
I’ve already worked the Waste Management booth at one event and have another one scheduled for tonight. It is, after all, International Compost Awareness Week! It’s practically a religious holiday for Master Composters 🙏
This spring has been very unusual here in my zone 3 yard. During the last week of April we were inundated with snow and cold – ok maybe that’s not terribly unusual for Alberta. But on May 6th we set a new record high of 31C (that’s 88F my American friends). I brought out all of my seedlings to acclimate them and its too darn hot! I have to protect them in the shade for crying out loud. That’s just not normal.
The forecast says that the risk of frost in the next week is minimal, and Edmonton’s average last day of frost is May 12th, so I should be home free, right? Well, as much as I’d like to believe that I think I’ll wait another week before I transfer my seedlings to soil.
But the weather has been perfect for sowing my vegetable garden. Here’s what’s going in the dirt this week:
- Corn: Fleet Bi-Color Hybrid
- Squash: Spaghetti
- Sunflower: Ruby
- Zucchini: Raven
- Spinach: Regal
- Swiss Chard: Lucullus
- Peas: Progress #9
- Lettuce: Esmeralda
- Lettuce: Buttercrunch
- Carrots: Touchon
- Carrots: Scarlet Nantes
- Beet: Chioggia
- Bean: TendergreenBush
- Potatoes: Kennebec
- Onion Set: White
- Onion Set: Red
As far as seedlings go I’ve sown:
- Tomato: Black from Tula
- Tomato: Tumbler
- Tomato: Mamma Mia
- Pepper: Serano del Sol
- Onion: Spanish Candy Hybrid
- Cucumber: Spacemaster
- Eggplant: Hansel
I have some winter lettuce that will be ready to eat long before the head lettuces. I think I’ll plant a second type of cucumber as well. My chives, lavender, mint and oregano have all returned and I have ample garlic coming up in more than one place. I’ve got parsley and cilantro seedlings started and I’ve bought some basil, thyme, rosemary and sage bedding plants.
Yippee! It’s spring!