Thursday, February 7, 2013

Seeds and Poo

Last night, we placed an order for the seeds that we need for this season. These aren't the only things we are going to plant - either because we have left over seeds from previous seeds orders, or were able to save some of our seeds from last year's harvest...and today, I received a notice that they were already on their way to us! Exciting!!! I can't wait to dig my hands in the dirt, ahem, poo and get some seeds started.

So let's talk poo - not necessarily the most fascinating subject; however, a necessary one. Yesterday, we were able to take a five gallon bucket and fill it approx 1/3 full of pure rabbit poo (uncomposted, fresh from the cage), 1/3 full of alpaca poo (partially composted, mostly fresh, from the "dung pile") and 1/3 full of toward the bottom of our compost pile. Digging into the compost pile, we weren't really sure what to expect. When we were at our apartment, we attempted composting, using an Earth Machine composter (that we earned attending a composting/vermiculture/recycling class) never seemed to really do anything. Just more of a container holding our compostable goodies and never transitioning into actual compost. Did we do something wrong? Can you compost...wrong? I mean it's just letting your compostables break down into "black gold"..right? I don't honestly know the answer to that. However, now that we live here, we've been keeping kitchen and barn waste in an area of our back yard, near where the chickens will live. Soon, (by soon, I mean that I'm hoping this year, but likely next year) we will be building compost bins - where we can separate the pile into three separate sections (new, cooking, almost ready/ready), but for now, one...fairly large..pile of cooking compost. Mark grabbed a few shovels worth of uncomposted straw and poo off the top of the pile and then...GOLD! Did we make compost??? We sure did! There's beautiful, dark black compost gold under that pile. Awesome! Today, we mixed the three components together by dumping back and forth between two larger buckets - I took a shovel and chopped up some of the "bunny berries" and "alpaca jelly beans" and it is actually beginning to look like rich potting soil. We'll give it a few more days of mixing and churning and I think we'll have some pretty nutrient rich goodness to help our seedlings get off to the right start.
Alright, enough with the poo talk, for now! Come on seeds, hurry up and get here.
Oh! Thought you might want to see the planting calendar that we are going to try to stick to this year. We went through and tried to determine the best dates to plant (either set directly in the ground, starting the seeds inside or transplanting seedlings) - these are specific to our (estimated) frost dates and I'm sure we'll find out that some will work out and others will be a bust. I'm hoping to take better garden notes/photos this year...we'll see.


  1. Compost - Yeah you can get it wrong apparently and no it just doesnt happen by itself. I went to one of my gardening lectures and apparently you need the right combination of nitrogen and carbon (poo and grassy stuff) and then like all living things you need air and water. I did a similar thing to you a long time ago and got a big stinking pile of rotting grass. No airation apparently which is why the new fandangle ones have thingys in them to rotate the material as you turn and vent holes to let air in. If you are doing the old fashion way with piles then unfortunately you need to turn it yourself with a pitchfork every now and then to get the air in and ensure it is moist (but not wet). In the course they talked about having a three bin plot and the first being for collection of materials, then second being the first mix and the last being one being ready for use. Its a progressive thing. You must have lucked out to get your gold. Apparently the test is - if it smells then you have it wrong. Compost is alive with microbes and little thingys that break it all down. I could send you some of my course notes if you want. I havent done anything myself. I dont really have room for anything other than a worm farm and later (fingers crossed) a chicken coop - im planning again LOL so that will take a year.

  2. I just looked across at your archive list and saw 2009. Bloody hell - youve been doing this a long time. No wonder you are worn out and not jumping to get back on each day. Im sorry for pushing. Just miss your updates. Did the seeds arrive. Do you have plans for a green house or polytunnel? I noticed you have a follower called the Frugal Farmlet but they must not be public. I cant get in.