Archives for April 2011

Spring = New Life = Happiness


Cilantro and Dill © 4 2011

Spring has sprung here in the Piedmont and this Southern girl could not be happier…or any more tired…as I have been busy making preparations for my 2011 lasagna gardening ventures.  My latest experiment involved planting organic vegetable seeds in my Aerogarden.  What is an Aerogarden you might ask ?  Well, it is one of my best gardening purchases ever.  I found mine at Tuesday Morning; however, you can find their products online at  The Aerogarden is known as “The World’s First Kitchen Garden Appliance” and uses hydroponics, lighting, nutrients and built-in timers to make growing just about anything a pleasurable experience. This picture shows the cilantro and dill I grew inside all winter, for use in everything from salads to guacamole, using my Aerogarden 7.  I have since transplanted them outside and they are growing beautifully.

Since everything else I venture to grow has done so well in my Aerogarden I decided to try starting my veggies from seed at home rather than spending money purchasing the plants from a retailer.  It is amazing how being unemployed sparks creativity. 🙂

Aerogarden – Day 6
© 4/19/2011

This is day 6 (right).  My cucumbers, squash and okra have sprouted and are growing unbelievably fast!  I also planted peppers (jalapeno and green), tomatoes (Roma and Cherry), basil, marigolds and zinnias.

Squash and Zucchini from AG © 4 27 2011

This is what my squash and zucchini look like today (left), 13 days after planting.  I have transplanted them to pots already.  Aren’t they beautiful???  I am hardening them so they will be ready for planting outside in my lasagna garden May 3, 2011, as that is the best day for planting above ground crops per the almanac .  ‘Hardening’ means that I take them outside each day, increasing the time daily, allowing them to become acclimated to the outside light and temperature gradually.

As you can see from this picture, it won’t be long at all until my other seedlings are ready to transfer to pots in preparation for the hardening and planting process.

Seedlings © 4/26/2011

To say that I am excited is an understatement.  There is so much I want to share with you:

1) The progress of the green peas, Yukon Gold potatoes and asparagus

2)  My experience using sawdust as a border

3)  Preparation techniques, Sweet ‘T’ style, for last years’ lasagna rows

But right now, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the out-of-doors is calling my name so….until next time….if you need me, I will be in my little piece of heaven on earth….my garden!!!  Chow~

What to Compost and What not to Compost…That is the Question

Hopefully, over the past several days, you have been able to work on building/attaining your compost containers.  If not, I highly recommend that you do as soon as possible. The process of breaking down garden and kitchen waste by heat, microbes and other soil-dwelling creatures takes T…I…M…E!  It is my humble opinion that every organic garden should have at least one compost pile due to the improvement it affords the soil in its broken-down state and the fact that it is a sustainable approach to soil enrichment.

Alrighty then…you have your compost container/heap…what do you put in it???  Here are the yays and the nays based on one of my resources, Organic Gardening (Christine & Michael Lavelle):

Good Compost Materials:

  • Animal Manure (not pet waste)
  • Fallen leaves
  • Grass/lawn clippings
  • Hay and straw from organic farms
  • Kitchen waste
  • Prunings from the garden
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded browns
  • Soot and charcoal
  • Spent hops or cocoa shells
  • Spent mushroom compost
  • Weeds and other garden wastes

What not to compost:

  • Chemically treated wood products
  • Diseased plants
  • Human or pet waste
  • Meat, bones and fatty food wastes
  • Pernicious weeds

There are basically two kinds of composting; the “cold pile” method and the “hot pile” method.  I have shown you one of each as any good teacher would do :), (see previous post, Composting).  The black compost barrel would be considered a “hot pile” method of composting because it is covered and conserves heat.  The materials in the barrel normally break down rather quickly due to the heat generated inside by being black and enclosed.  The outside bin on the corner of our lot is an example of the “cold pile” method and can take up to a year to reach compost status.  Both are fun and equally satisfying methods of home-produced compost.

As you travel on this gardening/composting journey you will hear/learn all kinds of terminology and your gardening knowledge will blossom and grow.  It is really quite simple and the benefits are….well…..delicious!!!!  Until next time…