Monthly Archives: December 2013

Compost and Santa

ManureI’ve never believed in Santa Claus. Not even when I was little. But on December 26th I started to wonder. I’d been busy all day Tuesday and gone all day Wednesday (Christmas). When I went outside on Thursday morning to check the garden I discovered – two buckets of dried chicken manure! It looks like Santa came to my house after all. Of course, I knew 

Eggplant fruit

Santa’s real name. Thanks for the manure, Clay and Maggie!

About 10 days ago I picked my first Bell pepper – about 4 ounces. I would’ve posted a picture of it but I ate it before remembering my camera. Yesterday I picked my first eggplant fruits – 2 1/2 pounds. I had 4 ounces for lunch today, raw, as a salad. It was very good. Of course, I’m still picking and eating jalapeños.

Bin 4

The buckets of chicken manure inspired me to get compost pile number four started. As you can see I’ve switched to four mil black plastic. A 10′ x 25′ sheet, big enough for four compost bins, cost $15. At $3.75 per use, this is 135% more expensive than the two mil clear plastic. But the clear plastic didn’t hold up. The sunlight caused it to disintegrate.

I think I’m going to try doing shorter posts more often. We’ll see how that goes.

Welcome to December, 2013

Welcome to December, 2013

Here we are, December already. My favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving, is already past. More than 20 of us gathered at Wayne and Bridget’s house for a wonderful time of food and fellowship. Bridget talked me into making brioche. I didn’t have a proper mixer but Becky invited me to drop by and use hers. I made brioche by hand once – never again. Last week I finally broke down and bought one for myself. Becky found it online for me for $192 including shipping and tax. Such a deal!

Of course I’m using this festive season to try out my new fireplace (it came with the house). Yep, nothing like a fireplace to make a house feel cozy on an 82°F day! Bing weather predicts that the daytime high temperature will drop below 80° on Thursday. But 75° still isn’t cool enough for a fire. Maybe January…

Eight InchLast weekend I picked up four more cabbage plants and four more broccoli. Since I was too busy to dig up more garden I transplanted them into 8 inch pots. They are doing nicely. I also had to mow my yard again. With the occasional rain and warm weather is still hasn’t stopped growing. Maybe January…

All day yesterday I spent goofing off.

Starting early this morning I spent seven hours writing a one-page post for my other site. One of the best parts about blogging is that it forces me to confront my ideas. I thought I knew what I was talking about until I started writing – the process showed me how little thought I had put into my opinion.

That didn’t leave a whole lot of time for gardening – and doing laundry – and writing this post. So I skipped grocery shopping. It’s been three weeks but, between Thanksgiving and dinner invitations, I have plenty of food to last another week. To quote Hawkeye Pierce, “never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do.”

Bin OneGardening work has been mostly maintenance – watering, making compost tea, and adding stuff to the compost bin. Last weekend I decided that bin #3 was full – time to start another. Bin #1 never did rot thoroughly so I’ve been using compost from bin 2 for the tea.

Today I started shoveling out the leaf mold – I’ll use it during the winter as a mulch and to bury kitchen wastes, etc. Once the lawn finally stops growing I’ll no longer have grass clippings to use for this purpose.

Rotten tomatoI had forgotten that I put an old shower curtain on the ground before starting this compost bin. This was not one of my brightest ideas. The bottom layer of leaves turned into fiberboard rather than compost. Most of the leaves I put in this pile were never shredded so they matted pretty badly. I found only one tiny earthworm in the pile. So sad.

good tomatoesCheck out the lovely green tomato going into the compost – here it is December and the bugs are still getting more produce than I am. I’ve never had much success with tomatoes planted in the fall. I think I’ll slip some plastic under the other green tomatoes to try to keep the bugs away. I haven’t done anything whatsoever regarding insect control.

The eggplants have been flowering for a while but only recently have started to set fruit. I have one bell pepper nearly ready to pick and several smaller ones coming along. I did manage to harvest a handful of small jalapenos – 1.1 ounces of them. Most of my plants are rather small – the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants haven’t taken off the way I would’ve expected. I suspect this is largely due to my neglect during their first month or so in the ground. Note to self: in the future pay closer attention to the care of new seedlings!

JalapenosHey, at least I should get some broccoli and cabbage. I’ve never had a serious failure with those crops, and they’re looking good. Next year I’ll try to start planting them earlier and see how that works.