Category Archives: Free stuff

Goal is to get or exchange for free seeds, manure, supplies and tools.

Grow Your Own Ginger and Turmeric

I bought some freshly harvested ginger and turmeric at the Farmers Market today. It has been delicious in the past and I am looking forward to eating and drinking it.   

I had a discussion about growing it with a gardening  friend and the vendor at th market. I have grown garlic before and have propagated an avocado plant from a seed but am curious about growing these 2 rhizomes.

I have done a little research { played with th  google machine} and found that there are a few simple steps to take.   Now this doesn’t make it easy nor fast but it seems quite simple.

A. Find some seed stock [rhizome with eyes] 

B. Prepare soil in a 12″ or bigger pot, and make sure the soil is rich and alkaline and drains well

C. Place in warm area , with adequate sun

D. Water as needed and be patient

I found a few useful links:

Some easy basics. –     http://m.wikihow.com/Grow-a-Ginger-Plant 

Some more info for garden planting  – http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-ginger.html

And another for growing in a pot or pots…- http://balconygardenweb.com/how-to-grow-ginger-in-pot-growing-ginger-indoors/

     TURMERIC

Growing Turmeric is very similar as noted in the link here-

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-to-grow-your-own-turmeric-indoors-its-easier-than-you-think/slide/3

Enjoy the journey and the food.

Great food and great medicine……
@martyroddy

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CHEAPSKATE Hints-Cheap nd Free Supplies And Skills for Garden

The original inspiration for this blog was the garden I was building in a $-rented-$ space in a city garden. I was building my soil, creating beds and starting some compost for future use. All of these items were done for free, but some work was needed to be successful. [and of course I was using tools purchased at retail price- but some of them could have been acquired at thrift stores/ yard sales.]

This post will put forth a list of free items for use in the garden.   Your garden  and my garden are places for peace ,fun, sweat and food. All of that can be attained with a big checkbook but there is something rewarding about reusing, and repurposing items for beneficial use in the garden .

The first is a free ( inexpensive) technique not an item but it still keeps things cheap. It is called lasagna or sheet gardening. Lasagna gardening starts your garden with NEW SOIL MADE BY layering yard and food waste. No need to break nor till the soil(buy/rent root tiller???)  just take a little time ,plan ahead and build new soft soil.  Make your new soil where you want your garden to be.  This is free if all of the material built into the layers is also free(see below). If this is done in the fall the soil will be ready to,plant in the spring and if started in spring some good topsoil or compost can be added to the lop layer as seeds or seedlings are planted.  Lasagna Garden HOW TO:  latest of cardboard or newsprint(15-20 sheets) on the bottom ,on top of the old grass.  The alternate layers of grass clippings, leaves, compost, manure. Shredded wood chips can also be built into the layers.

GRASS CLIPPINGS-

If you have a yard , you have a gardeners gold mine with all of the grass clippings you will generate spring to fall. These can be used in the lasagna garden, added to compost pile/container and used in the growing garden as a weed barrier that eventually breaks down and keeps the soil developing. If you don’t have a yard of green you can collect bags of cut grass around the community . Do this by driving around or do a search online for bagged grass ( see FREECYCLE for,your community).

LEAVES –

These can also added directly to the  garden as weed barrier but in many areas th leaves fall as the garden is finishing for the season. They can be added as fall-winter cover , shredded and added to compost pile or bagged and set aside to,creat leaf mold for next springs garden.

If you do not have trees and leaves you may be able to find them from friends, or others in the community and in many communities leaves are collected and piled in a central location for local citizens to use.

WOOD CHIPS/shredded wood mulch-

The wood can be used as weed barrier or as layers in the lasagna garden. they can also be added to the compost pile sparingly. Much like leaves and grass clippings when added to garden as weed barrier they will eventually break down in to the soil.

Most folks will need to get wood chips and shredded wood mulch as few have the wood/trees AND equipment to chop them. Many communities that collect leaves and make them available also collect downed trees and branches AND  Christmas trees and shred in a central location available to the community.

COFFEE GROUNDS-

Coffee grounds make a great addition to the compost pile, garden soil and directly for acid loving plants in the garden and yard. When building a lasagna/sheet garden-coffee grounds area a addition . Worked into the soil grounds loosen the soil and break down leaving it nourished.

They may also be spread under acid loving plants like azaleas and even broadcast out on the lawn.

If you drink coffee you will generate some supply but real volume can be found at most local coffee shops and many locations of large chain coffee shops. Some places bag them for you and others ask you to bring buckets.

COMPOSTED KITCHEN SCRAPS-

If we eat any fruit or vegetables we will generate peels and scraps that can be composted for use in the garden. The scraps eggshells plus fruit and veggie only, no other animal based scraps ( meat , fat or bones).

They can be collected in an airtight table top container or the freezer until taken outside to the composting area or tool. The compost is usable after 3-9 months , depending on the method used.

 

Summary list of Cheapskate supplies:

1.Lasagna gardening

2. Grass clippings

3. Leaves

4. Shredded wood/chips

5. Coffee grounds

6. Composted kitchen scraps

 

 

@martyroddy

 

Coffee to Wake Up …The Garden

Coffee grounds are a great addition to the home garden and the growing plans around the entire yard. If you have discovered a local coffee shop with a supply of grounds ( larger than average family making 1 or 2 pots of coffee a day) and can bring them to your house and garden you now need to know how to use them.

The most obvious is COMPOST. Add the grounds to the pile(they tend to be 2% nitrogen and <1% phosphorous and potassium) and thoroughly mix with leaves, grass, paper, kitchen scraps and seedless weeds from the garden.

This post will be a list and attached articles will fill in some information.

COFFEE GROUNDS from a shop:

1. Add grounds to the compost pile, bin or container. {different blend percentages are suggested- look some up}

  1. Raise your own worms for casings, and the grounds mix well with other food scraps s food for the worms= they love them.
  2. Spread on the lawn, under trees and bushes(heavier for acid loving plants)
  3. Top dress the garden , especially in the offseason, with the grounds. They will break down and add nutrients to the soil
  4. Slugs and snails hate coffee grounds – protect susceptible plants with the grounds
  5. squirrels and rabbits can also be deterred by the grounds underfoot
  6. Acid loving plants will love a ring of grounds that are worked into the ground/soil around the base of the plant .

The following articles address some of these ideas.

The most obvious and simple use is as compost, but The amounts can be important:  

http://www.planetnatural.com/coffee-grounds-compost/

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/coffee-grounds-gardening.htm

More than compost- other uses for the grounds: 

http://www.ehow.com/how_8038252_use-coffee-grinds-vegetable-gardens.html

Some plants love the grounds directly on them:

http://thegardeningcook.com/coffee-grounds/

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

Be a Real Cheapskate- GROW your Fertilizer Part 1

Russian Comfrey ( Symphytum uplandicum) and wild comfrey ( symphtum officinale) are partners to consider adding to your garden because when established ,after  year 1 , it provides plenty of “free” fertilizer for your plants and an energizer for your growing compost piles(bins).

Wild comfrey tends to spread so plan ahead and put it in a spot that allows for  that or control the expansion by planting in buried pots, buckets or old storage bins (make sure they have drainage) control / limit  the spread.
Comfrey has the added benefit of being a useful medicinal herb (See link below).

It is  a relatively tall plant that  likes to reach out and spread its “wings”, so set it in places where it can do so and not cast too much shade or crowd out neighbors, especially permanent plantings like trees, berries and bushes.

The average home garden will benefit from 4-6 plants . It is be propagated from cutting or established plants can be divided .  It is an attractive plant with attractive blue-purple flowers and a fuzzy green leaf.

            How to Use Comfrey in your garden:
A. Liquid Fertilizer: 1] fill bucket with leaves(not necessary to pack tight) and top completely with water and cover the bucket with lid or board and set in sun for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the liquid should be dark brown-black. IT WILL STINK, BUT THT IS OK!!
2] Combine dark liquid with clear water and ratio of 1-2 cup liquid/1 gallon water
3] add spread around plants every other week during regular watering or before a rain.
B. Transplant Kickstart: Put 3-6 leaves in bottom of pot or garden hole when transplanting fruiting plants.
C. Power Mulch : Place a layer of leaves around plants, can be covered with cut grass or leaf mold
D. Compost Activator: add and mix into compost heap/bins. include flowers and stalks
MEDICINAL USES-
http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/comfrey-medicinal-uses-zmaz92jjzshe.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

“Hiring” Helpers for the Garden..Less than $100 a year

I have been a fan of worms in the garden and  as part of my gardening team.

Worms ( red wigglers -Eisenia foetida ) are a great resource for Vermicompopsting or Worm Composting. The worms compost the food scraps , leaves, grass and orther compostables and create a “delicious” and powerful garden fuel. The castings are essentially worm manure and this manure is great with seeds or plants, brwed into a compost tea or use to top dress potted plants.

A pound of red wiggler works can be ordered for an estimated $22-40 depending on the source and location. A bin to keep the worms and their castings can be purchased or made-the investment here can be $5-100.

If you choose not to hire the worms you can buy the worm castings from several sources.

http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/vermicomposting/

http://www.planetnatural.com/product/red-wiggler-worms/

The other employees to “hire” are known as beneficial insects- These are “bugs” that will prey upon the pests in your garden. And can be purchased , or caught and relocated in your garden or lured into the neighborhood. I will focus ona few favorites and buying them.

Some Helper Insect information:    http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/top-10-beneficial-bugs-garden

http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/beneficial-insects-predators-parasites

In addition to worms the insects I have worked with are ladybugs ( ladybeetles) , praying mantis and green lacewings.  They are helpful in the garden and they are attractive. Since I continually encounter them as I plant , weed and harvest – it is fun to know they are there-helpimng- and they are nice to look at.

http://www.arbico-organics.com/product/ladybird-beetle-ladybugs-hippodamia-convergens

http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/Green-Lacewings-chrysoperla-beneficial-insects

http://www.groworganic.com/praying-mantids-case-of-approx-200-eggs.html

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

Grow your garden for $15 a year

Now the first couple of years you may have to buy seed or seedlings but from that point forward you can save seeds as the harvest proceeds.

This allows you to continue producing the goodies that you love to eat and grow without having to invest in seeds every season. Seed saving varies for different species and families of plants but storage is universal.

WHAT IS AVAILABLE for CHEAPSKATES?

1) Freecycle to find supplies- wood, bricks, barrels, cinder blocks even grass, leaves, mulch or compost(plus manure)

2) Collect bagged leaves from the neighborhood, or other neighborhoods

3) Employ worms to break down kitchen scraps and some yard waste…can be found from other “worm” farmers or purchased online…

4)Wood chips and other ground/shredded wood make a great garden base, they can also serve as top dressing to maintain moisture and fight unwanted weeds.  These can be obtained free(but you may need to get them) or for a nominal fee.

5) Build composter(s) with free/recycled items. Bin with wooden pallets, bins with cinder blocks, barrel from old trash can…..

6) find manure you can shovel into a truck bed or trashbag/barrel to bring home

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

GARDEN 2014 – Updates and photos

The garden for 2014 is going great and the joy is abounding as we gaze at the growing plants and stems and leaves. There are flowers blooming and fruit forming.

 We have tried a few new things this year- 

FREE COFFEE ROASTING CHAFF– as compost bulk and garden pathway coverage. It works great for both uses and is free at local coffee shop/roaster and this keeps chaff out of the garbage.

 

Path mad with newspaper and Coffee Roasting Chaff

Path mad with newspaper and Coffee Roasting Chaff


The next new thing we tried was OLD SCHOOL- 3 Sisters-   

Corn-beans and Squash in the same plot- sharing the same bed.

The basic idea is that the Corn serves as a post for the beans to climb and the squash grows out to cover the soil and prevent weed growth. This symbiotic relationship can produce a large amount of food in a relatively small space- with reduced need for watering/feeding/weeding.

 

3 Sisters- Corn, beans and squash- 1 month old

3 Sisters- Corn, beans and squash- 1 month old


We have also experimented with potato towers and the plants seem to be growing strong and we look forward to the FALL when we can break the towers down and see our harvest- The tower can, in theory, produce 20-40 pounds of potatoes per tower.. We will see in a few months

 

 

Potato Towers protected by onions

Potato Towers protected by onions