May 26, 2008

Introducing The Nest

It's been several weeks (months?) since the last update on our summer garden.  I'm happy to report that we have sturdy seedlings in the rows marked zucchinibutterpearadish, and every kind of lettuce.  They look so beautiful that we wanted to create a suitable environment for them.  Wonderful Husband Charles suggested a raised bed with wicker walls.  We built it over several days using yard waste.  As you can see, the finished garden looks cozy and inviting!

Behind its fair facade, the garden holds functional elements, too.  We filled the 4' by 6' space with dirt from an old pig pen, vegetable scraps, and a thriving vermicultural  community.  That's right, we transferred most of the red wrigglers from the vermicompost bucket to our new garden.  We topped them off with soil and mulch, and seeded a cover crop of alfalfa.

We were both delighted by the garden's resemblance to the nests found around the yard: those of sparrows, robins, even woodpeckers.  We painted a whimsical sign to introduce our garden to the world. 

A nearby structure is as practical as the garden is fanciful.  Charles spent the weekend building a compost pen.  It's a 4' by 8' pen, three sides of which are lined with chicken wire.  He laid lengths of drain tile inside and stabilized them with a layer of woodchips.  A trench filled with cobblestones surrounds the pen.

The compost heap will be rotated from the right side of the pen to the left as it breaks down.  Charles formed the heap into a volcano shape, so that kitchen waste can be easily integrated into the compost.  Of course, he couldn't resist adding some worms to work on the heap at a macro level.  The final step was to sprinkle dirt over the heap and top it with two conical lids.  Now, we have a compost system that should avoid problems from moisture and pests, and is accessible for turning and harvesting the compost.  (See?  I told you he was wonderful!)

What next?  Before we leave town this weekend, we'll need to transplant our seedlings and sow the remaining seeds into other garden plots.  

Happy gardening!

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