Tag Archives: garden

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

spring ahead, FALL BACK- the garden in Fall and Winter

The end of summer usually means an end of the garden but does that mean the work is over?

This post is just a free-for-all collection of semi-random fall gardening articles I found and enjoyed this week

what to grow when the sun goes away?

A.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LvaHzdb7CLE

B. http://gardeningjones.com/blog/2014/07/19/how-to-plan-a-fall-garden/

some more thoughts….

What to do in the garden?  or not…

1. http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/2013/10/13/5-gardening-mistakes-to-avoid-this-fall/

2. http://www.finegardening.com/getting-your-roses-ready-winter

3.  http://sustainablog.org/2013/01/protecting-garden-space-winter/

4. http://homereadyhome.com/cold-frame-in-fall-garden/

Tabbouleh-Tabouli-TAB ?? Delicious and healthy -No matter how you spell it

I love the taste of Tabbouleh / Tabouli / ??? and have tried it many ways and with varied recipes but wanted to crank up the nutritional impact by replacing the grain with less empty calories. A delicious legume would do that perfectly.

Lentils are a delicious bean that fits the basic size/bite for tabbouleh and is a nutritional powerhouse especially when sprouted. After sprouting the lentils will provide 6-10 g protein, 20+% daily Vitamin C and 12-15% iron. The beans will also provide good fat and other nutritional basics.

Lentils are of similar size and bite to most bulgur and couscous and much tastier.

Adding the parsley, onion, garlic, tomato, mint , lemon juice and sea salt will make this tabbouleh a truly health food.

Ingredients :
2 cups sprouted red lentils
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped(1 loose cup chopped)
2 medium red onions- diced(or 6 green onions or mix)
4 tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 to ¾ cup chopped mint
sea salt- to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil (optional)
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4-6 cloves garlic- chopped fine

1. SPROUTING LENTILS- soak 1-2 cups red lentils in clean water for 8-12 hours. Drain and let sprouts grow for 2-3 days(rinsing 2x day) When ¼ tails are out- put sprouts in the fridge until ready to use.
2. Combine Onions. Garlic, tomatoes, parsley, mint, cinnamon, Salt / pepper and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss and let sit for 10 minutes
3. Add lentils and toss and place in Fridge for 30 minutes or more until eating to allow flavors to blend.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
A] Serve as a salad or side dish
B] Scoop into lettuce, cabbage or other “green” wrap to make a fun handheld food
C] Scoop up with a toasted pita or other chip

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

Summer Garden- Cabbage Medicine salad

I LOVE CABBAGE !!!  

I also love turmeric- and loving it more every day.

It tastes great and adds a nice flavor to many dishes…..PLUS it is a TREMENDOUS NATURAL ANIT-INFLAMMATORY.

 

This recipe ( and many variations) allows me to enjoy the brassicas I love so much and eat anti-inflammatory food and herbs throughout the day.

In it’s most simple form this salad is :

CABBAGE –  ONIONS  – GARLIC  + Raw Apple Cider vinegar

Ad some balck pepper, organic mustard, sea salt……

Add some turmeric powder (or ground fresh) and it become even more medicinal

Add fresh ginger……The crooks at the F& DA might want to label and control it.

 

RECIPE:

1 head of Cabbage- shredded to your taste

1 bunch red onions (I like the color) [Yellow- ok too]

1/2 cup Raw apple cider vinegar ( I use BRAGGS)

DRESSING-

1/2 tbs fresh ground pepper

2-4 tbs mustard ( to taste- and choose a fun /favorite mustard)

2 tbs  Olive oil (EVOO)

1-3 tbs Turmeric ( use less if fresh root) This is to taste

Mix in a bottle and shake vigourously or blend to emulsify- pour over the veggiues and set in fridge for 4 or more hours.

Options-

raw garlic, beets, young turnips, 2 kinds of cabbage or kale or greens

-lemon juice, snap peas, or fresh beans, ???????

SERVING ??

Serve over rice, or as a side to a spicy chili.

There are as many variations as there are mouths and tongues and Veggies at the Farmers Market.

Late Start in a New Garden – Late Spring Early Summer

This post is for gardening fans that move to new quarters in late spring or early summer but want to have some GARDEN FUN this year. If you move into a place where the previous tenant had a garden then…..  BUT if you move to a place with a virgin lawn what are your options?

  You are in luck if you live in a region with a nearby farmers market and/or a number of local CSA’s ( Community Supported Agriculture) to purchase a supply of seedlings for the garden late in the season. And have access to some expertise to ask a few questions as the season goes on.

If you do get a late start what ar your food options? The most popular summer plants are: tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplants. These are all great options for a new soil planting or straw bale gardens that are started in May or June.

What are these options:

NEW SOIL PLANTING-       Image

  1. Purchase Top Soil/Garden Soil- 40# bags at garden center
  2. Place several sheets of newspaper/or a sheet of cardboard on grass and wet thoroughly
  3. Cut an x in back of bag place on paper/board
  4. Cut large hole or several smaller hole on the top side of soil bag and plant 
    Image

    Veggies planted directly in Soil bag

  5. END OF SEASON- Prep for next year
  6. Lift bag and leave soil in place and add compost, manure, leaves cut grass to season in the winter for use next spring

HINTS/TIPS-        Some plants may need deeper roots – so using a box cutter or spade to puncture the paper or cardboard may be necessary.

STRAW BALE GARDEN –

Image

  1. Purchase several bales of straw and a few bags of garden soil or composted manure.
  2. Place in garden area on side(with open straw-string is usually along the other edges)
  3.  For 3 days wet the bales thoroughly
  4. Days 4-10 add a mixture of water/liquid organic fertilizer(High Nitrogen)
  5. Days 11-14 add water and finally soil/manure     
    Image

    Straw bales seasoned with water/fert- and soil READY to PLANT

  6. Make holes and plant seedlings with appropriate spacing [i.e. a standard bale  could support 4- 6 tomatoes/peppers….etc..  
    Image

    Just Planted Straw Bales

BAG OR SACK GARDENING –

This can be with commercially available planting sacks or “socks” or burlap bags commonly available from coffee roasters and other food processors.   

Image

Burlap bags filled with growing medium and providing a bountiful harvest

Natural material bags are filed with planting medium – soil/compost/manure and are placed in garden area- wet thoroughly and plant. The prevent weeds and are easy to water and maintain.  

####                        LONG TERM CONCERNS and PLANS  ( next year and after)

*** Testing the soil, Drainage, Tilth, Smell, Soil Life

  1. Soil Test- Can buy a kit or submit to local extension agent
  2. Drainage- dig a 1’ x1’ hole- Fill with water and time the drainage time  .4-6 hours is too slow and needs organic matter to speed  up and make it softer and ,2 hours it is too thin and needs more organic matter.
  3. Tilth – how firm is the soil- will it hold in a ball when wet, but break apart easily, or crumble with no resistance?
  4. Smell- Is your soil fresh, earthy or rotten and putrid?  ( may need to learn THIS ONE)
  5. Soil Life- Shovel full of soil-  How many worms and other visible organisms?

https://twitter/martyroddy