Saturday, May 15, 2010

Late Spring Garden

I was out in the garden last week, the sun was shining, and the lavender was blooming. I have a lot of weeding to catch up on this weekend, as well as planting the rest of my tomatoes, and swiss chard. I have been having trouble with toadstools in the garden, my grandma has suggested that I add lime, so I will be adding that to my raised beds this weekend. One group of toadstools looked so cool though I had to include it in my blog. Last week a few little mushrooms popped up in the moss surrounding my little maple tree, and within a week they were huge. We haven't seen a "fairy ring" since we lived near our woods, we figured this was pretty close, and were quite happy with them. I also included some pictures of the moss garden I am working on, and the gnomes that inhabit the mossy hills.

Our Worm Composter

I had a very nice Mother's Day this year, it was a nice relaxing weekend. One of the activities that I had been wanting to do since Earth Day was to set up a worm composting bin for my garden. The weather was so nice during the earlier part of Mother's Day that we were all finally able to get the project completed. Since I had to leave behind my flock of chickens a few years back when we moved into town to be closer to the schools, I have hated throwing out all of the veggie scraps that my chickens would have loved. So having a place where the wormies can turn all of our veggie scraps into rich compost for my garden seemed like just the right idea. We used an old storage tote, and Gary and Joe drilled holes for drainage in the bottom as well on the top and side for air. We then added a layer of shredded newspaper, a layer of soil, a half cup of oats, some left over lettuce, and a bit more soil, we then set the entire tote into another shallow tote to prevent the worms from escaping through the bottom, update: we removed this bottom half and plan to drill holes in it also, we had a big 3 week rain spell and the poor worms were way too wet, so for now they are just in the red tote on gravel, and we are no longer using the clear tote, none have been seen leaving, so the bottom tote might not be important. Instead of sending away for the red worms that most people use in these bins, which would have been $30-$40 to have them shipped, I decided to liberate nightcrawlers from the bait shop for much less money, and although they might not compost as fast as the red worms, I thought I would give these worms a chance. They have settled in nicely, we will continue bringing them our scraps, as well as making sure the soil stays moist, and I will give an update later in the summer to let you know how they do. Here are some pictures of how we made our worm bin. This would be a wonderful scout activity, or family summer activity, it was super easy, and it will be interesting to see if it works.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Goldfinch Are Back!

I was very happy last week when I was watching the darling little finches at my bird feeding station. There had been about 4-5 pair of goldfinches for the last month or so, and usually I have a lot more, I have been waiting for the weather to warm up so more would arrive. Well, they have arrived! First there were 8-10, then more and more kept arriving, soon the yard was alive with lots of wonderful little yellow birds, happily singing away. They are enjoying shelled sunflower hearts, and nijer thistle, as well as my dripping bird bath. Watching all my visiting birds is so wonderful. Along with the goldfinch, we have had lots of starling, blue jays, robins, house finch, red headed finch, chickadees, and sparrows. Flying above the garden, the swallows are starting to arrive as well, and a few little hummingbirds have found the new feeder I put out for them last week. Bird feeding is so wonderful, I would encourage everyone to have out some bird food. The dripping birdbath attachment has doubled the birds that come to the yard as well. Here are some great pictures of the Goldfinch arriving.