I made it to the garden today for a very short hour or so to set up a large 8’x8′ compost bin from cinder block, landscape timbers, and rebar. Here’s a link to where the idea came from. Once we used old pallets to build bins but wasps kept building nests in between the slats, and the pallets made a good place for spiders to hide, too, so we starting stacking compost material into neat piles all around the field. It can be a little bothersome mowing around all those small piles, though, so we decided that this one big pile a little closer to the garden would be easier to maintain. It probably won’t get turned as often as the smaller piles but that should be fine since the main reason for the larger bin is to collect fallen leaves. We’ll be sure to layer greens into the browns as often as we can. We’ll also be setting up a small tomatoes composting bin; I’ve heard that tomatoes are cannibals.
I’m very excited to finally get this bin done. We been getting old hay from local farmers to use as mulch and to add to compost piles. But it seems that every spring (and even the fall this year) that I am puling weeds and grass that have sprouted from the hay. I don’t like that! Especially after so much care has gone into setting up the raised beds in the first place. Anyway, there is still hay left from a huge roll we got last spring that I plan to mulch the strawberries with later on so I guess I’ll go ahead and use it up rather than waste it. I’ll pray hard that I get no surprises out of it next spring.
The next project is to clean out the existing pepper beds and get them ready for next year’s corn. There are two 5’x5′ beds which is enough room for 25-30 corn plants. First, I’ll cut the pepper plants at ground level leaving the roots and existing mulch to decompose then add the cut debris to the compost pile. Next, I’ll shape the beds with a bow rake and then spread soil amendments evenly over each bed not forgetting the wood ash. Once everything is turned under the soil with a garden rake, the bed is ready for planting. I’ll simply take a few handfuls of crimson clover seed and broadcast them evenly over the beds and then “chop” the seed into the soil with my bow rake. I may water the bed if the soil seems dry. Voila! That is all.
I should start picking turnip greens really soon. There are no aphids chewing up the plants and so far nothing wild has been eating them. I can hardly wait. Wish I could remember to take the camera to the field with me.