Saturday, February 9, 2013

a family and composting

My dad and mom are earthy folks.  Yep.  They taught us from a young age to not waste water and electricity.  And to not use too much toilet paper or paper towels.  I can just hear my Pop now, "your wasting a whole frigging tree!"  Ha!  My mom's approach, though more gentle, was just as powerful.  She enjoyed teaching us about nature and finding the beauty in its simplicity.  Her homemade meals for her crew of 6 kids was an endless task.  I can't say that I ever bought a lunch.  I look back and appreciate the love of gardening that they instilled in us.  All 6 of us have our own gardens in one form or another.  Fruit trees in front yards, eco-clubs and school gardens, raised vegetable boxes, endless rows of flowers, cold frames filled with lettuce.  These are the things that have been passed on to us.  To take care of this Earth and do our best by it.  Thanks Ma and Pop!

My folks...photo taken by Elizabeth Guzaldo



I first learned composting from my Pop.  He has been at it for years with a large homemade bin out back behind the pines.  One of my goals for the garden this year was to begin composting and teaching my beans about how we can make "good dirt."

I found this guy here 

I liked that he was made from 98% post industrial polyethylene and that he was lidded because we have some crazy buggers out back that get in to everything! 


Composting...

Brown + Green = Black Gold

  • carbon-rich brown materials {dry leaves, plant stalks, pine needles, wood shavings, newspaper}
  • nitrogen-rich green materials {fresh leaves, lawn clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags}
  • try to add 3 times as many brown materials as green materials
  • do not compost {meat, bones, animal waste, dairy products, diseased plants, seeded weeds, plants treated with herbicides or pesticides}
  • chop garden clippings by running over them with a mower
  • moisten materials to make them damp not soggy
  • as soon as the bin is full let it "cook" turn once a week 

Free Healthy Fertilizer


40 comments:

  1. Your first paragraph reminds me of this song my kids have listening to on their tablet. It is called "One Seed" by Laurie Berkner and it is a sweet song about passing the love gardening through the generations.

    I tried out composting but I never got out to turn it weekly. Have you ever thought of vermicomposting - composting with worms? My uncle did that for years and it was very interesting. And it makes for a much more fertile soil.

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    1. I have never done it here but we used to do that at the school I taught at!

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  2. We really need to start composting again! At our old house, we could always just make a pile in the woods and call it good if we weren't feeling ambitious. Here we definitely need a real bin, though. Thanks for the reminder :)

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    1. It must have been nice to just have a spot out in the woods! Good luck!

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  3. Hi Nicole, I just found your nice blog! You are one step ahead of me. I also want to get a compost bin for my garden this year. I do worm composting indoors with a worm bin already but in that bin only go kitchen scraps and newspaper. I waste a lot of plant material that I take out of the garden and throw in the trash, which I would like to compost. Just have to decide on a type of compost bin. There are so many possibilities...
    Christina

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    1. Worm composting is awesome too! Thanks for popping by...your blog is wonderful!

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  4. Great story! Your parents sure did instill a love of for the earth. :) I do that with my kids, as well. This summer I hope to plant a garden, albeit a small one at first. I am excited about it. I already know I will be checking your blog for tips and ideas. :)

    Julie

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    1. Hey...I think small is just fine...we do a lot in pots because our space is not that big...have a great weekend Julie!

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  5. Ohhhh - this is SUCH the right way to compost. Sending this to my SIL, who is overrun with bullsnakes in her yard (and TERRIFIED of them, I might add), due to her neighbor composting EVERYTHING he can, in a heap on the ground, next to her side. Happy gardening, Nicole - Tanya

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    1. Ok snakes??!?! I would be terrified too! We have a neighbor lady behind us that likes to feed the animals night and day...you name it we have it (except snakes) hence the lid on the compost!!

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  6. You are very lucky to have such parents! Thanks too for the link for the compost bin and the compost recipe! I hope to get started on composting this year too...
    Thanks for popping by my blog today... so you like all that snow do you?! LOL! The funny bit is Monday it is supposed to go up to the low 40's and RAIN... yep, I don't care what "they" say... global warming, and it isn't good. After working on my Master's degree in environmental biology and realizing what a real mess it all is I got so depressed...but I still try to do my bit! Like the bunnies and spinning my own yarn, hopefully some chickens this year and composting and veggie garden and we are on our way again! :D
    Hugs and talk soon my friend,
    Beth P

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    1. That's all we can do...the little things until the government does something about it. Drives me nuts when "they" say it isn't really happening. Ask any educated scientist...Chicago is now on record for increasing summer temperatures. They say that 90 degree summers are kind of our new norm...I worry for my kids. One day at a time...and learning to be more green! Peace!

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  7. Sounds like we were raised in very similar manners. Isn't it funny the things you can still hear your parents say from the past? I do composting too and use it on my gardens every spring. I need to learn to be more faithful to turn my compost, but it's such back breaking work.
    Cindy

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    1. It is funny! Good memories indeed! Looking forward to seeing your garden this spring!!!

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  8. Love your story! I think it's also important to add about composting -- not to let the formulas and "rules" feel overwhelming and keep you from starting -- just start piling "it" up. Leave out the meat and dairy so you don't attract varmints, and pile the leaves, grass clippings (from an herbicide free lawn!), dryer lint, and vegetable scraps up somewhere. Stir it up and turn if you remember. In the end, you'll get compost.

    Love your blog (subscribing).

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    1. Thanks lady! I'm enjoying your blog as well!

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  9. It's sounds like they did a good job of raising 6 kids with the right values - i hope I am doing the same with mine!

    Melissah from Country Style Chic

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    1. Thanks Melissah..I have no doubt that you are! Have a lovely weekend!!!

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  10. When I lived on a farm the first time I always had a great compost pile going. That sure is on my list to do when we move out to the farm. I really like the compost bin you have posted! Good to get the kids involved!

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    1. You are going to have so much great space on the farm! It will be lovely!!

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  11. My parents did love gardening, each in their own way, but never took to composting. They would have thought a compost pile is something that would be tucked away in the corner of a farmyard, not on a suburban lot. Judy and I do compost, though. We have two simple bins made from chicken wire in the back alley. It is satisfying to know that scraps and spoiled fruits and vegetables don't go to waste.

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    1. That is what I think too! In California they actually pick up peoples compost. We need to get with it! Good for you for having bins in the alley..you rock!

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  12. Compost is great. We don't have a bin yet, but our chickens are kind of our "live" compost bin. They get all food scraps, garden clippings etc. Eventually their pen's soil ends up so good that we move them out of it and turn in into a veggie plot, which they get to go over again at the end of the season :-)

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    1. Your soil must be outstanding! If only I could have chickens!!!

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  13. I make worm compost in an unfinished part of my basement. I don't have space for a big composter and I like that worms work all year. It sounds like your parents did a great job with you! :o)

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    1. Thank you!!! I never thought to keep them in the basement??? hmmmm you got me thinking!!

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  14. You never stop amazing me with your passion... I definatley need some tips on how to live greener :)

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  15. How wonderful to have that background of gardening. I like the look of your new composter. I hope it does well for you. I love to compost - it makes me feel less wasteful.

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  16. So wonderful your parents instilled that in you! I have a similar background but I'm not as hands on in the dirt as my parents were! But I am all about health and living a greener life. I've tried my hand at having a garden a few times but not consistent. Thanks for the inspiration to start again!
    Nancy

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  17. I love that you wrote about composting and are inspiring others. Top stuff. And such a sweet blog..xx

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  18. I love photos like these! I especially love film!

    www.trendinginfashion.blogspot.com

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  19. I'm one of 6 too. My mum and dad were very similar. They were of the "if you don't have the cash to pay for it - you save" generation. Credit is a big no no. We had the vege garden, lunches were always home made. Dinners out were for very special occassions and if we wanted something like a toy etc you got it for either a Birthday or Christmas. Good honest values. xo

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  20. I just loved reading this and that your parents instilled such a love of the earth and living a greener life - trying to do the same!

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  21. Hello, Nicole, my Dear! I've come to you from The "Grow Your Blog" party...it was over before I knew about it, but it was so nice of Vicki to leave the list up! Anyway, I always welcome new blogs to enjoy, and yours is delightful! I am now following you ~ please come and visit me if you get a chance!
    So nice to "meet" you!
    Hugs,
    Anne

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  22. Thank you for sharing this. As much as I love playing in the dirt, I know very little about making compost so I appreciate the tips. :)

    PS- the photo of your parents is great! :)

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