Saturday, March 26, 2011

Does Vermi Compost Buckets Count as Money Spent?

I was looking over my "money spent" blog ($115 so far) and I thought "oh, I bought buckets for worms!" I don't even have the worms yet. I'm hoping one of my wonderful friends will be able to share before I go buy some.

I'm wondering if I should count the containers and worms as money spent on the garden? I mean, they'll make compost, that ultimately helps the garden... Anywho,

2 cheap n cheerful grey totes, $15 after taxes. (The idea is you drill holes in the bottom of one, put something in the bottom of the second, and sit the first in the second, so any moisture can drip out and not drown your worms. ) I'm still going to need to salvage some "screen" for the bottom (just like what's in your windows) so the worms can wiggle out the bottom holes.

This brings my 'money spent' on the garden to $130. With all the extra veggies this year, I'm sure we'll reap more than that in produce.

Today I'm putting my snowpeas in the ground, plus there's some lettuce I want to put in, and a list of other things that are due to go into the seedling trays to sit on my fridge :)

I've got so many more this year than before. I'm going to need a greenhouse at some point.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Money Spent, Freebies,

This years 'garden' math so far.

$65 on seeds. Seriously. But, I did buy a heck of a lot. And, if I don't use them all, I'll store them for next year. The Cottage Gardener seeds are very very good, and have great germination rates even on year 2.

$50 combined in cocopeat, a few new seedling trays, 2 bags of soil, and a few wicker baskets from the thrift store.

What I've gotten from generous donation from friends so far:
  • A couple of big and small coffee cans
  • a bag full of toilet rolls
  • 7 or 8 empty pop bottles to make domes for outdoor seedling protection.
I'm still looking out for more - with my garden plans being doubled from last year, I'll need all the pop-bottle dome help I can get, yo.

I really didn't want to buy new seedling trays, but in my infinite fall wisdom, I left the old trays out in the yard (all stacked up nice and neatly - under 2 feet of snow.) This week was pretty rainy and warm, which revealed I had saved more than I thought I had... which is good. I'll probably need them all.

I was outside puttering yesterday. It was so sunny and purdy, and the side garden had completely cleared of snow. I covered it with newspaper (after pulling some rather prickly weeds out) and then covered THAT with pieces of the old metal shed that collapsed LAST spring. (it was meant to go to the dump for recycling, but never managed to get there.) anyway, when it's closer to NICE OUT I'll remove the metal panels and spread the compost and some hay on top.

I was inspecting the shed remains and spotted some things that will be good for making trellises for viney veggies and stakes for the tomatoes that just...keep... GROWING! (They end up about as tall as I am...5 whole feet.)

I cleared a little area in the back garden the same way. Had to actually dig a foot of snow out of the way, to put down newspaper and cover with panels. Now that I'm sitting here writing about it though, I'm thinking there are spots in the yard that are already well melted that would probably suit the peas better... hmmm...

Anyway, just a few thoughts on the morning. The girls have finished their "Ostara Egg" hunt (I think it took them 10 whole minutes this year) and my beloved and I are slowing waking up before the Great-Lasagna-Prep begins.

Oh yes, and it's our anniversary today. :)

Life is Good :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How To Make Kids Eat Almost Stale Cupcakes...

So, I made these mini cupcakes a few days ago, and they went almost stale... you know what I`m talking about. Just this side of edible, because they had a little crunch going on.

So, I broke out the Watkins Chocolate pudding-pie filling mix. I bought some when it was on sale (I tend to stock up when things are on sale, with all things. In the long run, it saves you moolah.

There were about 20 of these mini`s left. So I broke them all up, and half went into a ziplock and into the freezer.

Watkins dessert mix is an old fashioned behaving one - You have to cook it over medium heat till it thickens. Let it cool, then pour in cups or pie filling. I poured mine in a casserole dish (one of my favourites, from my neice and her whole family.) on top of the 10 broken up mini muffins.

I`m going to let it cool and have it with tomorrows lunch - only because it`s hardly fair to load the kids up with chocolate at 6:30 and then scram to Stitch N Bitch and leave my beloved with them all wound up. hehe.

The trick with this little dessert is that the cupcakes MUST be getting snubbing reviews from your kidlets. If they are moist, they probably won`t work. This way, they are still going to be somewhat firm and not gone to mush.

I hate throwing food out. I love making left overs into new food again.

It`s a good skill to have!
Now, I must actually bring something to STITCH to Stitch N Bitch tonight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gimme Gimme Dirt! 2011 Disco Remix

I am so ridiculously excited for this years garden. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe because the Universe decided I was taking a break, and my busy busy mind needs SOMETHING.

So, my seeds all came in and I divied them out to those who wanted a share. Leaving me with lots. I'm good with that, as The Cottage Gardener seeds seem to last forever and ever. (See the seed post here.)

In addition to all of those, I got some extra surprises in a "container gardening" pack I purchased. So, there's also Small Sugar Pea's, Burbank Tomatoes, A Mesclun Mix, and Little Finger Eggplant to get in there. As well as some more Columbines and Morning Glories from a seed swap.

I had to purchase a few other trays. The ones I have are buried in snow (although the pixies were good enough to dig around out there and recover one.)

I purchased only one tray with cells, two trays with only the clear lids, and 2 trays without a lid. I'm going to quickly run out of room on the top of the fridge, but with the plan of attack, hopefully some of those trays will be able to sun out in the driveway.

Because I know the 5 boxes in the back and the plot on the side yard won't be big enough for all that I've got this year, I'm collecting containers. These baskets came courtesy of the Sally Ann.

Not all of them have plastic already in them, so I'll just line them with bags and poke some drainage holes in the bottom.

However, if I can get my hands on some more milk crates, those would be awesome. I'm putting my Little Finger carrots in containers this year, as well as the radishes and a whole slew of other stuff, so I'm gonna need a bunch!

So, today I started a garden journal to keep it all straight in my head. A nice way to pass the latter half of the afternoon. I made a map of the yard, pencilled in what was going to go where, what was moving, and what stays put. There's lots to do, but I've broken it down week by week in terms of planting, moving bushes, mulching, etc.. so it's feeling very very managable.

The journal will also be helpful to keep track of if I'm breaking even. Last year I managed to, even with purchasing the soil, seeds, seedling cells and wood for starting up. (See "Soul and The Last Harvest)

Although last year my step-dad and I shovelled the soil from the transfer station ourselves. This year, I think I might have to have it delivered. However, with so much more being grown, after the weigh in, I'm still hoping to break even.

That's what I'm telling myself now. Until I need to figure out where all the extra soil is coming from for all those pots. And how much will it really end up costing me? The composter is full, and hopefully by spring will all be ready to disperse in the boxes and the garden plot...

I'll be buying some extra dollar store hand tools for the pixies this year, too, though. hehe.

Oh, have I mentioned that I want to get some worms again for vermi composting?

I'm really really excited about hands-in-the-dirt this year.