Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Spring is Coming!

Yes, Spring is coming. And I plan to be ready! I've made two big purchases for my garden in the past week, and I can't wait to put them to use.

Back in August, I revealed my plan to convert more of my lawn for garden. I've been putting that plan into action for the past six months or so. In September, I started bugging Chip to bring home cardboard boxes from work. I worked on edging the area, then putting down layers of the cardboard to kill the grass. Right now, this area is a real eye sore. But I'm about to change all of that soon when my raised beds come in. I've got an area about 7 ' wide x 8' long, but part of "long" area gets shaded by the fence in the afternoon. This week I purchased two 3 x 3 Grow Beds from Gardeners Supply Company for $49.95 each. I plan to put these side by side in the wide part of the bed that gets lots of sun. Truthfully, I thought these were overpriced. I mean, its four 3' pieces of recycled black plastic with some connectors. For 50 bones, that seems kinda like a rip off. But, they were as good or better than anything else I could find, and I liked the fact they were made out of recycled material. Call me a sucker, but I gave in a bought 'em.

My other purchase was something I've been debating for a while whether I needed or not. I have a compost bin that we use to corral all the kitchen and yard materials we gather day-to-day. However, when it comes to "finishing" the compost - really getting it to heat up and turn into that black gold - it doesn't really do the trick. That's where I thought a compost tumbler would be great. Yesterday, I purchased an Envirocycle Compost Tumbler from Clean Air Gardening. It was on sale for $149.99, down from $169.99. I've read great things about this model. It even makes "compost tea" in the bottom compartment. My grandma uses one of those big, above-ground, crank models to finish her compost, and she loves it. Since my garden is a fraction of the size of hers, I thought this one would be perfect. I can't wait to throw in some of my almost done compost and give it a whirl.

While researching all of this, of course I found something else I wanted... grrrr. An electric chipper/shredder would be really neat to have. We have tons of leaves from the oak and gum trees in our backyard, and I would love to chop these up to use as mulch. I really doubt I'll get one of these, but they are pretty darn cool.


Leah Maria said...

I like that compose bin! So easy to use (well according to the video it looks that way). One of these days I want to start a compose bin, hopefully by this fall we can get it going.

Ginger said...

I used to have an Envirocycle! I loved the compost tea feature. The Envirocycle definitely works best with small batches, in conjunction with your normal pile. I gave mine away and now just have two big wire bins. If you turn it every other day and make sure it doesn't get too dry in the hot summer, it should work great for you. Report back to us!
Those raised beds should last you awhile. Mine are wood and homemade, but I bet yours will last longer. Are they recyclable when you no longer need/want them? I just placed a huge order from Gardeners too - a new bird bath and more seed starting supplies. I have been happy with everything I have bought from them.
Happy (almost) spring!

Dirt Princess said...

Hey Lisa..just found your blog Through Ginger's (don't you just love the blog world). Great blog. I am thinking about ordering a compost bin from Gardener Supply...but I am tempted to make my own at first and see how it goes. I know a lot of gardeners who have made their own and they work great

Lars said...

I think you'll like the Envirocycle. It's one of our most popular composters.

Thanks for the mention!

Raised beds make for awesome gardens. Especially if you use high quality soil in them. I use the Square Foot Gardening soil recipe in my raised beds, even though I don't follow the rest of his method. The soil alone almost guarantees gardening success.

Dirt Princess -- building your own bin works well too. You can build them with pallets, chicken wire, cinder blocks and just about anything else. I use two manufactured bins in my yard, because they are enclosed and keep squirrels or other rodents from getting into the compost. I compost a lot of vegetable scraps, which can otherwise attract them.


Sande said...

I just bought a Patriot electric chipper/shredder and used it once so far. It worked great...

Lisa Blair said...

Leah, I'll let you know how it goes with this composter.

Ginger, I'm pretty sure that both the composter and my plastic raised beds are recyclable. Post a bird bath photo on your blog once the little birdies come to visit. I'd love to see which one you got.

Dirt Princess, yes, definitely take a stab at making your own wood and wire bin before you buy. If you or someone you know is good at that sort of thing, then there are plans for building them on the net. Thanks for stopping by!

Lars, I'll have to look in to the Square Foot Gardening soil recipe. I have not heard of that, and I need all the help I can get!

Sande, my husband told me that the leaf blower that we have actually has a vac on it that will shred leaves before it sucks them into the bag. I had no idea it would do that! I am going to try it and see how it works before I buy a chipper/shredder.