Good Morning, All!
And a very happy Friday to you. Thank you for all the comments on yesterday’s post! There was a lot of very good discussion thrown around regarding Corn Gluten Meal and other points for organic gardening. If you want more information, be sure to contact me and I will set you up with as much as I can track down (which at the current time has been quite a lot!). In the meantime – while we talk organic and gardening – today Bonnie is going to take the reins once again to give you some tips and pointers on composting for your new gardens!
It seems that the CSA season is starting to get under way in PA! I have heard several reports of the first deliveries of the season happening already. If you have not joined one yet and want to I suggest making that phone call today or most of the farms will be sold out before you know it. I can help you find a few in the area if needed. Anyone who has already signed up for one, please forward the information for your CSA to me so that it is available for the other members of our group.
As is usually the case, I got into another conversation with a co-worker about nutrition today. Interestingly, he told me that he and his wife went on a gluten-free eating plan for a year. While on it, they both lost a lot of weight. His specific comment I liked most was “It was interesting that we could eat as much as we wanted and the weight just kept melting off!” It’s so cool to hear people say such things! He did tell me though that they no longer follow the plan because it was “so difficult.” Right after he told me how eating a bowl of pasta makes his digestion off and how they still eat gluten-free pancakes. (Speaking of pancakes – did you see The Naked Kitchen’s Great Pancake Debate?) This got me wondering – what do you think? Is eating whole-foods/paleo-like difficult? After you made the successful transition, have you found it easy or hard to stay on track? What are some of your strategies for staying the course? Share with us your thoughts!
Nutrition Tip of the Day: Take a look at this article posted on The Guardian. Antibiotic resistance: Bacteria are winning the war. Just about all the Paleo-bloggers agree – don’t take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Your body needs to fight off the bacteria naturally for your immune system to get stronger and relying on medicine doesn’t help it do that. Plus, when you take an antibiotic, it also kills the good bacteria that resides in our gut – necessary for good digestion. If you absolutely must take an antibiotic it is recommended that you chase it with a high-quality probiotic pill for the time you are on the antibiotic cycle plus two weeks. And even at that you may not get all your good bacteria back for months. The good news? Eating, sleeping, and working out our way generally improves the strength of your immune system anyway and you’ll get sick less often.
Workout of the Day:
Warm-up: 2 rounds of 15 – Jumping Jacks, Shoulder Mobility, Push-ups, Walking Lunges, Sit-ups, Samson Stretch, Squat
Work-out: 4 rounds for time of: Run 400 meters, do 50 squats. (approximate distance if needed – about 2 minutes)
To Pancakes! And good bacteria - in our compost and belly.
The seed starting trays have been planted, raised beds have been built, and recipes are dancing around in your heads featuring all the delicious vegetables are are about to embark on growing. In the meantime, you are hauling bags of leaves to the street for your garbage man, polishing your self-mulching mower blades, and throwing out your egg shells, coffee grinds, and vegetable scraps in the trash. But should you be?
What it sounds like to me is you have the perfect ingredients for the most delicious recipe yet... Plant Food! Commonly known as compost, this is the organic material that does a plant good. Mix it into your garden soil and watch those babies grow. Really, it almost that simple!
There two main ways to start composting: cold (easy, long time) and hot (involved, quick).
Designate an area that you can start piling organic material on. (List below)
Feel free to churn the material with a garden fork if you'd like, but in about a year everything ought to be nice and decomposed. Yummy yummy plant food!
Designate an area where you will build your pile. You will need enough material to build a pile about 3' deep.
To start the pile, lay about 6" of "brown material" on the ground. Top with 6" of "green material". Alternate every 6" until you run outta material. Lightly spray the pile down with a garden hose; you want it to be moist but not soaking wet. About once a week, churn the pile with a garden fork to ensure that everything is mixing together. At that time make sure to lightly spray it down so it stays moist. The internal temperature of the pile should be about 130°. After about 3 months, everything should look nice and decomposed, basically like soil; it will no longer be warm in the middle. Super yummy plant food!
Organic material for your compost piles:
- Grass clippings (fertilizer free, preferably!)
- Old garden material (no seeded weeds or diseased plants)
- Vegetable/ fruit scraps
- Egg shells
- Coffee grinds
- Livestock manure (NOT dog, cat, or human)
- Small wood pieces from untreated lumber
- Misplaced soil (AKA dirt)
Composting is a fabulous practice. It is very green and sustainable; you don't need to buy anything (extra) to put into the pile because you are using scraps! If you have kids, especially boys, turn it into a fun project of "feeding" the pile with "trash" and watch as things degenerate. The best of all, it is probably the best additive to your garden to improve soil quality and help plants grow. Which can save you even more money in the end. Sweet, huh?!?
A few extra notes:
- Compost piles, especially hot ones, can be kinda smelly. Don't keep it next to your back door. Maybe better to keep it next to that annoying neighbors fence...
- Compost piles can be kinda ugly and get big and unruly; build a bin to camouflage it and help contain everything.
- Compost piles don't have to be piles! Many companies offer bins, barrels, and other containers for those of you who don't want to build your own, have a smaller space, or just think they are pretty cool :) A quick search on Google is a starting point to see other options. You can get good bins for under $100, or go for broke and rock out some close to $500.
- Compost piles can feed more than just your garden! Use it in your container/plants or just to feed your lawn!
So, to reinforce, there appears to be no main reason that everyone shouldn't compost! About 3 square feet is all ya need; you already have the material and I know you have the desire to be green, sustainable, healthy, and productive! So go on, get your hands dirty, and put your trash to good use!