Saturday, May 29, 2010

Compost systems, Mulch and Dirt

My original compost bin was made with plastic white trellising, because that's what I had. Here it is overflowing with grass clippings from the yard. The trellising was starting to bow outwards and buckle on one side with the weight and I couldn't get into it to turn it. Very frustrating.

I'd read about using wood pallets, but without a truck I wasn't sure how to get pallets home. I stopped at a place that had a sign "we buy and sell pallets" and asked there. The guy looked at me funny (I only wanted 4), and asked how I was going to get them home. I pointed to the car (its a small 4 door sedan -- barely fits Hubby) and I think the man struggled to not laugh out loud. This is not a new experience for me. Its amazing what can be fit into various small spaces, and what can be tied on, and so forth. I lived in China, I remember how this works. However, I decided to not risk my back seat fabric and passed on the offer of free pallets. "Only 4? I'll give you 4." The poor guy had no idea who he was offering free pallets to. Keep in mind, I'm the woman who accepted 12 cubic yards of free mulch. This last Thursday, I finally got my pallets, but not from that place. That story follows below.

Several factors converged for stuff to get done this weekend. First, school is out. Second, I "adopted" a student at church to do some yard work (fund raising for their missions trip). I'm going to have him help me put down cinder blocks for a second raised bed, which means I need dirt. I asked around to borrow a truck to get this dirt. To jump ahead, I decided to get the dirt delivered (plus, got more -- 4 yds), and used the truck to get pallets for my fancy-wancy 3 bin compost system. I spent an hour or two Friday morning putting it together and then Hubby and I spent another hour moving partly composted compost from the old bin to the new bin.

We filled it as much as we could, but it wasn't all of the compost from the previous bin. When I turn whats in this bin into the 2nd bin, I'll add more to the first bin.

You might wonder why I'm set on bins and not just piles. I do have neighbors and figure I should strive to keep things looking somewhat nice. And bins just seem nicer than piles. And I'm a Fancy Nancy kinda girl -- even when it comes to decaying matter. And I got to build something. Why do the version that requires no building when you can do the version that needs something built for it? (Hubby is going to choke on that statement! He's just the opposite me on this matter.)

The mulch pile is slowly dwindling. Hubby has worked hard moving it wheel barrel load by wheel barrel load back to my garden. We were concerned about it being in the way when the dirt was delivered, but that turned out not to be a problem.

This what 4 cubic yards of dirt looks like:

This is very sandy soil, unlike what I got back in March. I'm learning where to get stuff from. My next garden shopping objective is to visit Bonnie's, a well regarded local nursery.

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