Archives for March 2011


Ahhh….a beautiful, sunny day here in the Piedmont.  I have been transplanting hosta today and soaking up some Vitamin D in the process.

As promised, I want to share my composting methods with you.

First and foremost, I make it as easy on myself as possible.  I found this little jewel at Target and, thankfully, it made its way under the Christmas tree this past year (thank you, Kiss and Rob).  It is stainless steel and has a charcoal filter in the lid which completely eliminates odors.  The recommendation is to change the filter every month or so but I have been using it daily since Christmas and have not had to replace it yet.   I put a little bit of shredded paper in the bottom of the pail after I empty and wash it which may help prolong the life of the filter.  Once full, I empty it into my larger bin outside.  Though it normally gets emptied several times per week, I have gone as long as a full week without emptying it and there was no odor in my kitchen whatsoever.  Love it!!!

This is one of my outside bins (and my beautiful Golden Girl, Bailey).  I use this bin in the winter for my kitchen scraps.  Since it is black, it absorbs the heat from the sun and expedites the transformation of the materials inside into compost.  Periodically, I throw in a little peat moss, some extra shredded paper and any earthworms I can find.  My husband drilled holes, approximately two inches apart, around the top for air circulation (thank you, honey).  Once or twice per week, it gets turned over on its side and rolled around to keep the contents loose and mixed up.  If you are interested in getting one of these for your composting needs, let me know.  I may be able to get you one for a better price than the stores can offer.

And finally, this is my large compost bin on the corner of my property.  It is approximately 3’x 6′.  My husband built this using fencing material.   The front side is latched but can be opened so that I can get inside and turn the materials.  Yes, this is where I put yard waste (grass clippings, leaves, etc.) but I also add kitchen scraps and earthworms in the summer.  Due to the fencing and the fact that I do not ever put any meat (cooked or uncooked) or any cooked fruits/veggies in my compost pail, barrel or bin, I have not noticed any issues with rodents, etc.

And there you have it… how to make your own compost for your lasagna garden.  It surely beats having to pay outlandish prices for bags of it… and  I see it as just another way to recycle and reap the  benefits of my labor.  Besides…I just really like picking up earthworms 🙂


Come on, people!!!! We really need to, COLLECTIVELY, think WARM weather…it is snowing to beat the band here in the Piedmont!

March 28, 2011 - A very good reason to wait until May 1 to plant anything! © 3/25/2011

And this is why we don’t get crazy on those 80 degree March days and plant those beautiful flowers all of the retailers have put out to tempt us.  They want you to buy them and plant them that very day.  They know the plants are going to die and guess what?  You will be back for more…doubling their money!!!  They didn’t get wealthy by looking after your best interests, for sure.

My grandfather was a very smart man reminding me repeatedly that if I planted before May 1 I would be wasting my money. I only wish he would have written his common sense information in a journal for those of us he left behind.  Isn’t it ironic that the knowledge his generation took for granted, and that many viewed as old-fashioned or backward, is now being written about and explained in volumes for those of us trying to make it back to that simpler/healthier way of life?  Let that be a lesson to all of us ~

Hmmm….time for another cup of coffee and a leisurely walk down memory lane…reveling in the joys of growing up back in the day!  Until next time…stay warm…think warmer!!!

Preparing Lasagna Rows…Tess’ Till-less Style

Preparing Lasagna Rows…Tess’ Till-less Style

OK, my little eager beavers!  Ready for the next step?  You have decided on the perfect location for your soon-to-be luscious garden?  You have told family and friends that you need all of their cardboard and old newspapers?  You put last night’s potato peels, unwanted lettuce (any uncooked portions of veggies or fruits) and this morning’s eggshells (after you rinsed them out and broke them up) in your indoor compost pail?

Ahh…I see….there is still much to learn, isn’t there?  No worries…I am here for you every step of the way.  Today I want to give you an idea of how to build your lasagna rows so you can start gathering your materials and begin working on them when the weather allows.  You don’t have to do it all at one time – that is the lovely thing about it – you can do a little section or layer at a time until you are ready to plant.

Per my research, I found that with the lasagna method it is best to have 1 part green to 4 parts brown material:
Grass clippings
Barn litter
Coffee grounds
Blood meal

Newspaper/cardboard (bottom layer only and thoroughly soaked)
Shredded office paper
Fall leaves
Wood chips/twigs
Peat Moss

Here is an example of how to layer with number 1 being the layer right on top of the grass:

  1. Newspaper/cardboard
  2. Peat moss
  3. Water & mulch
  4. Hay
  5. Peat moss
  6. Mulch
  7. Hay
  8. Peat Moss

Ideally you would repeat until you had 24 inches of layering. The final layer should be peat moss.

Notice I said ‘ideally”.  When I started, I did not have time for all of that building and layering so I started with only 4 layers:

Ready for plants © 3/25/2011

  1. Cardboard (soaked all the way through)
  2. Peat moss
  3. Grass clippings/compost
  4. Peat moss

It is important to wet each layer after adding it to the row and prior to adding the next layer.

For my convenience and based on the amount of space I had alloted for planting, I chose to make each of my rows approximately 24 inches wide.  This made for easy picking as my plants matured and began to produce as I could reach the veggies from either side of the row.  You can make your rows as long as you like or as is feasible based on the amount of space you have allotted for your gardening pleasure.

This is what my rows look like now.  I have placed cardboard in between my lasagna rows to try to kill some annoying Bermuda grass and plan to put either landscape fabric or compost/peat moss on top of that within the next couple of weeks as the plain cardboard is U-G-L-Y but it is doing the trick.

You can see that I have continued to add leaves, compost and even used coffee grounds to my rows throughout the winter.  You can also see that, at this end, there is a layer of peat moss on two of the rows.  Green peas are planted there and should be sprouting their cute little heads within the next week or so.  Let the excitement begin!!!

Once again, let me emphasize that it is not time to start planting unless you are interested in planting asparagus (normally does not produce spears until after 2 – 3 seasons in the ground), beets, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, potatoes, radish, rutabaga, spinach (a few varieties), or turnips.  Those can be planted now but if you are just starting to farm 🙂 , I would suggest that you focus on your beds now and be ready to plant a summer crop by May 1.  There is still plenty to do…be thinking about what veggies you want to plant, which ones you will get as plants from the hardware store and which ones you want to start from seed.  Next time, I will tell you what I chose to do last year and what my plans are this year.  The options are just limitless…oh…one more thing…if you want to continue to follow along, select “Sign Me Up” on the right hand side of the screen and you will get an email each time I add a new post!

Until next time…think warm weather 😉