Monday, January 28, 2013

Gardening Adventure #1

I made a compost bin! I wanted to get something started with my garden, but it's still too cold at night to have any plants outdoors so I started here. I’m not sure how well it’ll work, and it’s already almost full so I’m a little nervous, but I finally got it made! Unfortunately, I think it’s too cold to safely keep worms right now so I will have to wait to do that after I get this figured out a little better and when it’s a little warmer.

So here’s a breakdown of what this experience was really like (compared to other people’s instructions/advice). (I round all costs up so if they are lower, you can be pleasantly surprised rather than being shocked. Also, because I keep losing the receipts before doing anything on the computer.)
Materials/Tools Required:
5 Gallon Bucket ($3 – the cheapest I could find that had a lid I could get for it)
Lid ($2 – Apparently this is purchased separately)
Drill (I’m pretty sure mine was between $10 and $15, but it was a real cheap battery operated one from 5 years ago so this is not accurate at all.)
Drill bit (this came with the drill. I don’t know how to tell what size it is so go for a smallish one)
About 1 ½ hours

Step by Step Directions
1. Take your bucket outside. Seriously. I thought to myself, I’m sure it won’t be that much of a mess. I am still finding little orange curlies all over the porch (personally I went outside to avoid having assistance provided courtesy of the kitty and puppy).
(Not a great picture, but my porch is still orange.)

2. Start with the lid so you feel like you’re making progress more quickly (especially if you have ADD and feel like the project is taking five-ever). You’re going to drill holes all over the place on the lid. One for about every 2 inches.

3. Do this across the bottom and then the sides of the bucket as well. (Because my drill is not very powerful, it took a lot of patience. So if you have a nice, powerful drill, choose that one over the cheap one.)

4. Put the compost materials inside. Materials include old fruits and veggies, bread, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper. You want an even (or roughly even) amount of wet (greens) and dry (browns) so that the chemicals work properly. Cut up the old food (don’t use meat or dairy in this! You’ll get pets – like mice and also an awful smell) and layer it followed by the paper (shredded), or pinestraw, or cedar chips.
(This is what mine looks like after 2 weeks. It has gone down a little and there is liquid coming out of the bottom, which I think is supposed to happen. Also, the black stuff is coffee, not soil. Too bad.)

5. This should be turned every couple days. I’m choosing to roll my bucket across the porch.

Added benefits: I think I made my neighbor crazy with the sound of the drill. And she’s kind of a pain so I felt better after my passive – aggressive behavior. Also, I will get to roll my bucket in front of her door every day and drive her dogs crazy. I can’t wait!

I’m not sure how long it takes to make compost so I guess I’ll find out. I’m planning to start planting as soon as I can, which may be in the next two weeks or so for some herbs inside so I'll be posting about that adventure as soon as it happens. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Name... Again.

So I had this great plan to write something up for New Year's, but then after the retail holiday mess that is my job, my body crashed and I spent my days off (plus one I shouldn't have been off) sick in bed, not reading, not writing. I did, however, manage to watch the entire first season of Once Upon a Time (thank you Netflix!). Turns out the holidays being over does not mean super high stress levels are over at work, though, so I am just now managing to get back on here.
Over the course of the past couple months, I have been looking into gardening. Because space is limited (to maybe 10 square feet on my balcony), I have been trying to find all the information I can about gardening in a reallllllly tiny area. I would love to be able to just grow vegetables and herbs so I don't have to buy those anymore. While there is some information out there, it's hard to find the "I have no money, no time, no patience, and no knowledge" books. So I figured while I'm at it with reviewing books, I'll fill in some of the other space with my adventures of gardening. I also want to start taking the puppy (and maybe the Boyfriend) hiking on small adventures. So be prepared for that possibility as well.
The final thing that may be added is crafty time! I've been trying to find new ways to up-cycle so we are not throwing so much out so I want to include that.
I wish I had written something better for this, but just beware that changes are coming! And you should be excited!