David and I have been enjoying these gorgeous days of warm sunshine and counting the blessings of such a mild and early spring. The nights are always colder and we’ve had some frost warnings, but overall, we have been able to enjoy incredibly warm temperatures for this time of year in Nebraska. The trees have donned all their leaves and the air is often filled with the aroma of flowers from the neighbor’s trees. We’ve had daffodils and tulips blooming for several weeks and the grape hyacinths and iris are starting to shoot up. I started my garden seeds inside, a few weeks ago with the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds I told you about, and I’m happy to report I have had 100% germination! I even transplanted some of the lettuce and salad greens to a container outside, on Sunday. I’ve been having to cover them with the turn in weather overnight, but I’m anticipating that they will fair well, since they enjoy cooler temperatures, anyway.
Though we have friends, not far away, that suffered damage in the storms over the past weekend, we were fortunate to have only heavy rain and some hail, so neither our home or plants show any long-lasting ill effects. Please continue to pray for those around us whose homes and property were so devastatingly affected. The clean-up and rebuilding will take weeks and months. The loss of mature trees and other vegetation is profound and has permanently changed the landscape where they live.
In Nebraska, this erratic and quick changing pattern to the weather is a sure signal of full-fledged spring and it has filled us with a sense of urgency to get the back yard and garden area prepped. Knowing that we will be removing pretty much everything from the old homeowner’s plantings was overwhelming enough to think about, but I also had everything that I had not cleaned out of last summer’s garden, yet, to contend with. We dug in over the weekend and made a good dent in the work that needs to be done, before we can seed and plant the vegetables and flowers that will make it “our own” space. Without my ComposT-Twin dual chamber compost tumbler, I would have been hard-pressed to get rid of all the waste from the clean-up process. As it was, the clean-up was quick and easy, and I’m, so grateful to have this high-quality tool in my gardening arsenal. Not only do I have a quick solution for yard and garden waste, it is producing nutrient-rich soil that I can put back into my garden! I love that!
I was excited that I had such a good mix of compostable material to get started. Before the day was out, we had actually filled both sides of the ComposT-Twin and it is happily baking away, breaking down the waste and making our beautiful compost. Seriously, it’s actually heating up. You can feel the warmth and occasionally see steam, if you open the doors. (Though, you really shouldn’t open the doors during the composting process, since that lets out a lot of the heat that is working to break down your compost and slows the process.)
Compost needs both brown and green materials to start that chemical reaction that begins to break down waste and make it into soil. Having correct proportions of each will speed the process and ensure that your compost has a good balance of the nutrients your garden plants will need. There are commercial products (compost activator) that can start the process for you, if you don’t have a good mix of both types of material, but ideally you will save money and time by composting an appropriate ratio of brown to green material and allowing the natural process to work. For best results, the ratio (by weight) should be 4 parts of brown material to 1 part of green.
So, what’s brown and what’s green? Here is a good reference list:
|Compostable Brown Materials||Compostable Green Materials|
The other critical element for the quick breakdown of organic waste into good compost, is air. Rotating your compost pile every day, to incorporate air, (and the moisture that forms as part of the breakdown), evenly is important. This job is so easy with my ComposT-Twin and I’m grateful that I’m not out turning the pile with a pitchfork, every day. A few cranks of the easy-turn handle and I’ve got the whole compost pile turned and aerated. Fantastic!
The garden area is finally starting to shape up and by May 1, should be fully ready to plant with no more worries about unexpected cold weather. We have a few stubborn plants over the old well area, that are going to require some extra effort, but I can’t wait to have it all finished and share some pictures of our new garden and plants growing strong. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you up to date on the progress!
So, how is your garden prep coming? Are you in an area of the country where it is already in the ground, or are you, like me, anxiously awaiting the assurance that the last freeze is complete? I can’t wait to hear everything you plan to grow and how you’re getting ready!