I put together a few flats of winter sown (more info and how-to here) seeds today. Huckleberry, currants, gooseberry, Jack in the Pulpit and elderberry. I know the berries may take longer to germinate – maybe not even until next year – but I really hope it works. I’ll be patient and I won’t toss the containers if they don’t germinate this spring.
Jack in the Pulpit are supposed to like the shade, so I’m looking forward to putting them around my ferns, hostas and bleeding hearts, under the trees.
I’ve been reading The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner batches, grow heaps, comforter compost, and other amazing techniques for saving time and money, and producing … most flavorful, nutritious vegetables ever. – and it’s a great book. The vegetable beds I’ve been double digging in the back yard have compost mixed in, but I’ll be trying some of the techniques in this book for new beds I’d like to put in the front yard. Treasure troughs sound like a great way to amend my heavy soil which was actually dug out of a giant hole on my property by my goof ball landscaper 2 seasons ago (another story). Per a suggestion in this book, and since I cut my husband’s and my kid’s hair when they need a trim, I’ve begun to add our cut hair to my compost pile. It’s high in nitrogen and protein and releases nutrients into the soil slowly. I’m also now aware that I probably haven’t been keeping my compost wet enough. Since my heap is above ground in a very open pen, I think it looses moisture very quickly and when it becomes too dry, the rotting process slows down dramatically. I’m just not sure at what point I should cover it up so that nutrients don’t wash OUT of it. I guess I just have to keep an eye on it to see if it’s getting too wet.
I also added another section to my compost pen in the backyard to hold leaves I haven’t had a chance to shred yet.
Isn’t this picture of a keyhole garden cool? I’ve decided to create a keyhole garden in the sunny center of my front side yard to grow some sun loving veggies this spring. My sister got me one of these Gazebo Arch’s for my birthday this year, so I’ll set this up as the center circle in the keyhole, put a path around it, then dig a bed to go all the way around. The compost book above suggest I create “comforter compost” over a site I’ll be using as a new bed in the spring. The problem is, I’m short on enough GREEN nitrogen rich material to start from scratch. I think the Beachwood compost and recycling center is going to close up for the winter soon so I better get my butt over there and haul as many garbage cans of their finished compost back here as I can before they close their doors. This is gonna be a LOT of work, but ooooh boy, my gardens are gonna be great next summer!!!!!
Here’s a link describing how to build a keyhole garden like ones they are building in Africa in areas that have very poor soil. I need rocks or bricks for the outside walls. These are videos are keyhole gardens on youtube. Compost in the middle of the front yard baby! hahaha! Talk about amazing design. I think I can make it really beautiful too!