Since the summer of 2002, I've been composting my way to a cliff-side plot of soil using garden waste and kitchen scraps.
|In 2002, there was no soil in this location, only rocks and a steep slope.|
I made a simple wire basket that holds our organic waste from spring through fall. My floating garden and deck pots are easy to manage, so I cut everything into small chunks before carrying it up the hill.
When fall arrives I dig a pit, dump the freshest trimmings on the bottom, the barrel contents on top, and cover it with soil. In between layers I give it a good watering and use a compost accelerator.
|The compost pit ready to uncover after "cooking" all winter long.|
I leave the top exposed through several rains to make sure it's moist. Then it's covered with trash bags and weighted down with boards.
The result is more soil for my garden without having to buy it, and without having to carry it up four flights of stairs from the cabin below.
|Sowing my quinoa seeds after digging my completed compost into the soil.|
Last year I grew quinoa for the first time. It was a partial success because the critters got to enjoy it more than I did. But I'm giving it another try. This year I sowed lots of seeds in hopes there'll be more for both of us to share.
For now, there's plenty of water in the rain barrels. You can bet when it gets hot this summer I'll be praying for rain. Otherwise I'll have to carry buckets up those same four flights of stairs. Now that's not a pleasant thought.
Do you grow quinoa? What has your experience been?
UPDATE: The critters and drought this year have literally killed my quinoa growing for this season. Maybe I need to find something even hardier and more drought resistant for my upper garden. Any suggestions? -- Margy