After my post last week on ways to nourish a garden for free, reader Claire Walter wrote in with this question: Coffee grounds right onto the soil? What’s the benefit? We just put coffee grounds, unbleached paper filter and all, in w/ the compost.
The Scavengers whom I wrote about yesterday appear to be gardening partly organically, but not completely. At our house, we stick with the organic stuff, which is cheap or free ….
Gardening season is getting underway around the United States — from those in the South getting summer plants rolling, to those in the North finally able to stick a shovel in the ground. But with President Obama promoting “victory gardens” where Americans grow some of their own food (to promote thrift, food safety and a do-it-yourself ethic), it’s all too easy to join many other “green” trends where “green” refers to environmentally friendly solutions, but also to laying out a lot of money for something people used to just do.
This week, the Web has held so many great posts and articles that we are overdue for not just a wrap-up, but a SUPER wrap-up! I hope there’s something here to appeal to everyone.
With spring in the air, it’s time for all birds to migrate northward. At our house, we have a finch feeder hanging from our front tree, and the birds are beginning to eat in pairs instead of singly with a lookout. We have a window feeder in the kitchen, but we keep startling the little sparrows that come. And Mlle. Cheap has plans to make a recycled materials feeder for the back yard. Soon, our fast and furious feathered friends, the hummingbirds, will fly through town. In the southern United States, they are likely already migrating through. If you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, check out Getting Ready for Hummingbirds from TipNut.com.
Can I just say I love, Love, LOVE my food mill?
OK, you are all virtuous and you compost your waste. Bravo! But if you’re like me, you just might be a little bit of a slacker when it comes to thoroughly washing out the bin that sits on your counter or under your sink collecting scraps.
As I write this post, it is Monday evening, and we have a frost advisory in Denver tonight. Worse, I am enough tired from a weekend away, and jaded from staring at my powdery-mildew and aphid-infested garden, that I have not bothered to go dash sheets over the plants. Wish us all luck, readers.
However, in the meantime, ripe vegetables are finally arriving en masse….
July in Denver was arid and hot; August was cool and wet; and for the garden, September is like the August we never had. In terms of the garden, our plants went on hiatus and are just now getting back into the swing of things. The Roma tomatoes are big, but just now beginning to turn red. This weekend, I’m hoping to get into the garden to peel away some leaves and expose the fruit to the sun in hopes we’ll get a good crop in before frosts hit in October.
Take a look at your garden. If you’re growing members of the squash family, are the fruit growing? If not, you might need to hand pollinate.
Today’s weekly wrap-up tackles issues sure to raise hackles around family dinner tables, even those that are assiduously avoiding political conversation during the election year: Oil prices, green gifting and whether organic food is worth it.
Things are getting a little crazy in the garden.
Things are growing beautifully in our garden, despite a heat wave that has us thisclose to breaking the record. (Denver’s record is 15 days of highs over 90 degrees. Barring unforeseen cooling, we’ll tie the record on Wednesday, break it on Thursday and blow it out of the water sometime over the next few weeks.) Even though I am a competitive person, this information is little consolation when it’s been too hot to stand on my lawn barefoot without my feet feeling like they are burning. But this big beet doesn’t care. We’ve also got a lot of babies sprouting green wings in the garden.
It’s been hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry this week. Temperatures have been over 90F daily and we’ve had just a few drops of rain one day. Nevertheless, the garden soldiers on. On Sunday, I harvested our first red Juliet tomato — a very early harvest. The plant has set quite a bit of green fruit, too.
As I’ve delved seriously into gardening the past couple of years, I have become more attuned to the hum of life in the garden. Not just the energy of the plants, or the frenetic barking of the neighborhood dogs, but the literal buzz, hum and snap of the buggy life cycle taking place in the garden. We have a plethora of sow bugs and flies working to decompose the earth and the waste cycle emanating from Schnauzer Cheap.
Last week we were away on vacation. Seven days is a long time to abandon one’s garden in mid-summer, especially in Colorado, where it’s nothing extraordinary for the days to reach into the 90s F, the nights to drop to 55, and rain to be as absent as a child at chore time. With humidity barely scraping 47 percent right after a thunderstorm, the hot, dry sun can kill a garden completely.
This week, as I’ve been out walking the dog, I couldn’t help but notice a neighbor down the street with a tree full of cherries growing riper … and riper. I remembered my vow last year to ask for fruit that appeared to be going to waste, so I knocked on the door on Tuesday. Nobody was home, so I left a note; and the next day on my walk, I saw the door was open, so I went and rang the bell. The home is a rental, and the tenant said I could take all the cherries I wanted. Hooray!
Green Daily is giving away a $300-value composter package for those who comment with what they would compost by July 2. It’s a random drawing, so I am generously decreasing my own chances by letting all of you in on it! Good luck! Also, our neighborhood newsletter arrived yesterday with a slightly wackadoodle article about composting. She had a good basic how-to, but she mentioned that she composts shrimp shells and fish waste (she must be quite a seafood aficionado in landlocked Denver). I wasn’t so sure about that, but here are two university references, one that says “fish-waste composting is a little trickier than the backyard variety,” and one that offers a whole publication about how to do it. As for the shrimp shells, this list includes them among 163 things that can be composted. Another site notes that the smell could attract animals … that’s what I would […]
In the garden, we are entering the exciting Stage 2, where the plants are *visibly* growing. Stage 1 is “everything is in the ground and it’s just sitting there!” Impatient people such as myself get very irritable with Stage 1 … even though we know, intellectually, that while the plant “just sits,” it is doing important work like Getting Used to the Sun and Growing Roots.
GreenPa wants to start a tradition of a “whole planet picnic” – a waste-free free-for-all on the solstice. That would be today … or more loosely, this weekend. So if you don’t have plans, get those phones ringing! I wish I were on top of this this year … maybe next year. Don’t forget, Saturday is the “golden showers garden party.” I notice that my post on this subject has a big “no comment” from y’all, but even if you choose to participate silently, think about it – and if you do it regularly, let us know if you have any amazing results.