Thursday, April 20, 2006

Gardening & Foraging Notes

Yesterday, Tasha and I rounded up the containers for the garden and started remixing the soil in them. We emptied about 1/2 of each container into a larger container. Kyle helped us crumble in some dried up leaves from the back yard while I was on worm compost harvesting duty.

Harvesting worm compost from the outdoor bin is easy because it is divided into two sections. When there is nothing for the worms to eat on one side, they migrate to the other where new food awaits them. Its easy to get the compost out because you don't really have to be on the lookout for worms.

In our over the winter worm bin, an old cooler, there is no such luxury. To harvest the compost you have to push everything to one side and wait for the worms to migrate away from the light. In short, its a pain in the tail but you can't beat the compost!

We also added some compost from our big compost heap but not too much. It really hasn't decomposed enough yet and there's way too much ash from the woodstove in it right now.

The soil in the containers is looking crumbly and ready to be planted. I love this time of year! My strawberry plants are coming back as well. This is especially exciting because these plants are the offspring of a lone strawberry plant. The strawberry plants were sold in a hanging bag. This sounded like a great concept except they got knocked off the wall repeatedly and eventually all died except for one puny one. I took the one plant and set in a container and despite the battering it had recieved, it even gave us a few strawberries. I never expected it to survive the winter.

On the food front, this is the time of year when you can start to pick the dandelion greens and they'll still be tender and not so bitter. Use common sense when harvesting. I don't pick ones where the dogs do their business or where the septic fields are. You get the idea. They make a nice addition to soups and tomato based sauces. If you're really organized about it you can have two buckets going, one for greens and one for blossoms, which besides being used to make wine, are edible as well.


James said...

As a long time composter, I would suggest not putting ashes from woodstove into your compost heap. Go ahead and spread the ash out lightly across your lawn or garden, and work it in. Or you could let the rain do the job too. Since it is burned, the ash has no organic compounds left, only minerals. The bacteria (or worms) can't do anything with the ash, so they avoid it.

Happy frugal gardening,


Katie said...

Thanks for the tip James. This was our first year using the woodstove. We were a little unprepared for the amount of ash we'd have. We started putting it in the compost heap just to have a place to put it. I think next winter we'll designate an old garbage can to hold them until spring when we can use them the way you've suggested.