Thursday, June 11, 2015

From Compost to Garden

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

10 comments:

  1. That's so interesting about the critters enjoying the quinoa. :)

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    1. Just wish I could figure out a way to deter them. The plot is at the edge of the forest so it is really easy to reach. - Margy

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  2. That is great you are claiming some garden space up on the hill. Hope the quinoa grows well and you get more than the critters this year.

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  3. Smart system. I haven't grown quinoa but I'm trying amaranth for the first time.

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  4. Great exercise climbing those stairs. I have never grown Quinoa. I am late this year in planting. Hoping to get the seeds in this weekend.

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  5. I have some seeds but have not grown anything this year except some tomatoes, potatoes and horseradish due to all the rain we have been getting. I do have wild amaranth and never kill it because the bugs love it more than some of my vegetables. You can use regular amaranth too. Your soil is probably great!

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    1. I haven't tried horseradish. Is it easy to grow? - Margy

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  6. That is some project - hope your garden is super successful this year.

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  7. Thanks everyone for stopping by to comment. I really appreciate you ideas and suggestions. - Margy

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