Re-Grow Roots

Learning to live harmoniously in Missouri.


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How to Build a Compost Pile

ImageCarlos, my soul partner best friend ever, and myself – We built a super simple, inexpensive, and very effective compost pile today! Cost – $18 and we still have 45 feet of chicken wire left! oh & a bit of manual labor!

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How to BUILD a COMPOST PILE

< Supplies >

  • chicken wire (We bought a 50 foot roll for $8
  • 2 metal posts (Same aisle as the chicken wire fencing at Lowe’s)
  • hammer
  • wire clippers

Find a nice tucked away place to put your compost pile, but easy access from your kitchen! Hammer the metal posts / stakes into the ground a foot or 2, make sure it isn’t too wobbly.

Then take your chicken wire and make a nice circle shape around the stakes. You can attach the chicken wire to itself by wrapping little pieces of wire. (Oh I just realized how much simpler I could explain this with a video! )

A word about compost. SIMPLICITY . Everything will naturally decompose over time, no matter what it is. Produce, grass, hay, manure, leaves, these things break down so easily! It’s good to have a nice balance of “green stuff” like living things with color (food scraps, fresh cut grass) & “brown stuff” like … things that are brown (hay, leaves). Manure, althought brown, is considered a “green” because it’s more alive… LOTS of bacteria activity, microscopic life. Let’s put it this way.

The more microbes, the more alive it is!

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Believe!!!

 

Linked up at: Eat Make Grow


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Naturally Prepare Your Spring Garden This Fall

Get a head start on your Spring garden by preparing great soil now! For many plants and animals, the winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation, but there is lots of action happening under ground even beneath a blanket of snow.

oak 001Let’s think for a moment about the way a forest functions naturally… In the fall, Oak leaves on Oak trees begin turning beautiful red and orange colors and the acorns drop off. Squirrels and other little forest friends will come along and pick up many of the acorns, but those that don’t get picked up will accumulate and rest under piles of leaves and sticks. The Oak seeds are planted. In the Spring they have the possibility of sprouting and turning into Oak trees themselves! The preparation was done in the fall and the results can be seen in the Spring and in years to come.

the forest floor

the forest floor

The first thing you can do to prepare your garden now is create compost. Take your leftover plant debris from last season and throw it in your compost heap. Need some composting help? http://blog.ecoetsy.com/2012/10/food-gardening-fall-composting-tips/html

Instead of digging and tilling which breaks up and destroys the structure and habitat of soil, try adding organic matter to the surface and let it rest until the Spring as nature intended. People who practice permaculture, a lifestyle of natural gardening, call this sheet mulching. Others call it lasagna gardening. It’s a very simple practice and in my opinion is way more fun than digging and tilling!

Sheet Mulching –

The possibilities are plentiful and abundant when it comes to sheet mulching. Most recently, I have been working on building an organic garden on a 1/4 acre of grass lawn. I have a vision for the whole thing to be covered with an edible food forest, and to accomplish this I have been smothering out the grass using supplies that are free and available locally.

Don’t be scared to use what you have and be open to any new ideas because they might work out perfectly! I started off by collecting cardboard from the restaurant my dad works at. We took off the tape, broke them down, and laid them out flat. Then we collected piles of leaves and covered the cardboard with that.

On top of the leaves, we added coffee grounds, manure, dirt, and wood chip mulch. Go into your local coffee shops (like Starbucks) and ask them for their spent, or used, coffee grounds. More info on coffee grounds in the garden – http://groundtoground.org/ For free manure, try searching craigslist.org for “manure” and you may be surprised at how many farmers give away livestock waste free of charge.

lasagna garden

lasagna garden

In my first sheet mulch / lasagna garden I used newspaper, hay, and manure and it turned out super rich. We grew abundant broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, green onions, and a few other herbs. It was fantastic!

food

It’s wonderful to add soil enriching extras to your fall garden preparation. Scatter some seaweed or kelp powder, bone meal, compost, and anything else you like and may have experience with. I like to use perlite for moisture retention and because I got it in bulk from a guy on Craigslist which leads me back to…

Use local supplies!

I have grown food in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, and Missouri and no matter where I go, there are so many amazing resourcesThe possibilities are endless!

 


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Homage to Spring and Summer

Last night there was a freezing freeze, and many of our plants have wilted and withered away. So today I picked all of our tomatillos and many Reisentraube tomatoes. Still much to do to catch up on the Fall / Winter prep here at our apartment complex. Yes, we have a wonderful garden here where I live in Branson that I am super grateful to be a part of! I started it a couple of years ago when I came to visit my parents and since then it has grown more and more every year. I now also have this wonderful opportunity at JoAnna’s house / the community garden! 🙂 Life is beautiful.

Huge bean plants!

These bean plants grew super huge and covered our bedroom window! It was pretty cool, blocked out the hot summer sun. I learned a lot from them. Next year I will set up a trellis much differently and give each plant more room to grow. I planted FIVE of them, not knowing how much they would like sprawling. I think 2 would have done the trick. And that’s a nice patty pan squash there in the front that eventually got eaten by a squash bug infestation… go to know those little fellas real well this year.

Lovely basil

These lovely ladies have since grown much taller and are now living in our office.

Beautiful mexican marigolds

Butterfly!!!

Butterfly!!!

We had more butterflied than I’ve ever seen! 30 at a time would flutter around our garden from flower to flower. I recently did some really cool math and I figured that from 200 marigold plants, I could attain ONE MILLION seeds. I kid you not.

YUMMY patty pan squash!

Froggy friend

This little fella lived in the bean plant outside our window for much of the spring and summer. It was so cool to sit in our room and watch him catch flies and moths and eat em! Yum.

TURTLE! 🙂

This awesome turtle came up to our garden and chomped on our squash plants! I was more than happy to share. 🙂 One morning I was sitting in the living room with the door open letting some fresh air in, and then I noticed a sound, like a thump near the door and didn’t see anything. I got up to look for what it was and HELLO this little turtle friend walked right inside the door and was just sitting there looking around! It was incredible. S/he walked right inside our apartment!

Spring showers.

That’s my homage to the beautiful Spring and Summer seasons of 2012. Thank you mother earth! I am eternally grateful!