Category Archives: Composting & Recycling

Fruity Seed-starting Pots

Our Passionfruit (Passiflora Incarnata) harvesting season is coming to its close. It has been a good stretch with fruits galore. The tough rind has been put in bokashi bins, compost bins and cut up, then put in the worm bin as feed.

Their latest use has been as seed-starting pots. Just like papier mache seed-starting pots, which is composted to become “soil”, Passionfruit rind will do likewise so why not try them for a new function?

Pole beans in their “new” seed-starting pots.

Germination has begun …

They sprouted healthily.

Whole ‘pots’ went into soil once cotyledons appeared

They seem happy 😀

There will be a few more ‘fruity seed-starting pots’ available once we cut up the remaining Passionfruits on our kitchen counter to be preserved for future devouring.

Yum-yum! Every part gets used.

Speed your Seed’s germination

With the slower growing Fall-greens’ seeds having been sown and cuttings in water being rooted. I’ve decided to ‘speed-sow’ the faster growing vegetables which can be harvested (in about 30 days) by leaf snipping, e.g. spinach, lettuce, etc. It takes slightly more initial work but it speeds up the germination and removes guesswork. (Yes, sometimes when nothing surfaces, we start wondering if the seeds are still good for planting.)

I keep and use/re-use food containers with kitchen towels for this. Just lay the towels down, moisten with water and sprinkle the seeds.

Speedy seed germination

Speedy seed germination

Place their tops on and in 24-36 hours, you will see some change ~ if the seeds are still good. Gently add drops of water if needed.

Seeds doing OK.

Seeds doing OK.

I usually let it further grow another day with mild morning sun to help it and it simply springs to life, faster than in any seeding mix or pellets. Then comes the extra work that needs to be done slowly and gently.

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Re-doing my paths ~ Sheet Mulching with Cardboard

Right now, I am a busy Cardboard Hunter a.k.a. Dumpster Diver. Those dump bins used by stores, emptied by forklifts are so huge and deep, it’s really quite a feat trying to get discarded cardboard boxes out of there (& not fall in). Slow and steady … hey! I’m just helping to recycle …

My 2nd retrieved batch

My 2nd retrieved batch

It’s summer and with Florida’s seasonal downpour, I’ve found it’s the best time to “re-pave” my pathways. Yes, I use cardboard as sheet-mulch as it is biodegradable, blocks weeds and allows me to do my part in recycling.

Pathway cardboard mulched.

Pathway cardboard mulched.

~ then covered with hay

~ then covered with hay

Cardboard mulch & hay all the way.

Hay, hay, hay it’s magic ♫

 

Now, to wait for tomorrow’s rain before I walk all over it in rubber boots to “shape” it.

Oh, and I use cardboard low boxes as biodegradable raised beds too. They blend in, disintegrate, become soil and my plants can’t tell the difference. :mrgreen:

Seedlings in their temporary raised beds.

Seedlings in their temporary raised beds.

Oops! By coincidence I saw Jennifer Nichole Wells’ site so I’m joining in the fun.

One Word Photo Challenge: Cardboard

Comfrey Harvest – Part 2

Comfrey harvested slightly over 2 weeks ago got hung to dry, then moved to the garage for a couple of days when Tropical Storm Colin came to visit and got moved out again for summer sun drying for 7 days.

When nicely brown and dehydrated, I laid it in a cardboard box and sprinkled it with a scoop of compost. Then it was left to cure for another 7 days ~ almost similar principle to preserving vegetables.

Comfrey curing in a cardboard box.

Comfrey curing in a cardboard box.

I use cardboard boxes as it absorbs moisture and prevents condensation and rot. After proper curing, those leaves are now covered with mycelium! So sweet smelling …

Leaf stems

Leaf stems

Cured Leaves

Cured Leaves

Almost looks like winter frost, doesn't it?

Almost looks like winter frost, doesn’t it?

Now it’s ready for use. I will mix some into potting soil, some into vegetable beds, some into soil-mix to be used for Fall planting and some into my worm bin. This will be done in summer while all Comfrey plants are growing extra fast & producing leaves extra big and thick. This is my form of organic soil enrichment which I think has Ma Nature’s approval.

It’s been tough

We tried, we really did … We’ve built & rebuilt all kinds of contraptions in hope of outsmarting those darn squirrels from devouring food meant for the birds and the outright destruction of several of our bird feeders.

The last contraption was from a thriftstore dismantled, cut up and built into what we hope would be squirrel proof.

It came, saw ...

It saw, came to investigate…

Walked all around it ...

Walked all around it …

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Whatever It was, It got recycled

I bought this strange looking thing today at a thrift store and kept wondering what on earth it is/could have been. After over an hour toying with it on our front porch, hubby & I decided to just cut it up (it’s actually way tougher than it looks) and use it to build what is needed. Yes, it got recycled.

1 of the remnant pieces ended in the back patio as a mini-tool holder.

They will be washed by the rain forecasted for tonight.

They will be washed by the rain forecasted for tonight.

The main project was “built” in the garage and put to the test in the front yard.

A "cage" over the bird feeder!

A “cage” over the bird feeder!

On the sides are the wired squares and the crucial part with vertical wires are next to the feed holes. Will it work? Only 1 way find out …

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Microclimate Early Spring Tomatoes

In a simple short description … my Crazy Tomato Wall … yes, this is an update of my post (put up exactly 4 weeks ago) about tomato seeds sowed outdoors in winter by a south-facing concrete wall.

It works! The combination of Vermi-Composting & Bokashi, right by a heavy feeding, fruit-producing plant, does work. See the white lid of the bokashi worm bin below.

The Tomato Wall

The Tomato Wall with a buried Bokashi/Worm Bin

That 1 little red spot in the photo above stands out, doesn’t it? I see it, the birds & insects see it too, but the fruits here are preciously guarded. The birds can have some of my cherry tomatoes, those I’ll share. :mrgreen: With what I call the Protection Bags, the tomatoes on the plant are more noticeable from a distance.  Moving closer, it can be seen that there are bunches of pretty large tomatoes, each, individually bagged.

Fruits in Bag

Fruits in Bag

So here it is …

Almost ready for harvest.

Almost ready for harvest.

The 1st heirloom tomato from that plant which I am leaving to naturally sun-ripen to its fullest. Then it’s devouring and more importantly seed saving time!

Update: 1 day after the above post, it just felt right for some action to be taken.

10 ozs

10 ozs

Not all tomatoes are created equal, I guess.

Not all tomatoes are created equal, I guess.

 

Unto dust shalt thou return ~ Update

Update of my contribution to Recycling 

“We’re ready! We’re ready! screamed the corn seedlings silently and to show me they meant business, they stuck their roots out through the papier-mâché “tray-cups” like a toddler would stick his legs out of a crib.

Roots have penetrated the seeding "cups".

Healthy, thick roots have penetrated the seeding “cups”.

The recycled “tray cups” were moistened thoroughly before being split up into individual pieces and placed in planting holes semi-filled with composted manure, some Epsom Salt and homemade potting mix.

Into the soil they went

Into the soil they went.

2 rows

My new corn strip consisting of 2 rows.

So there they are now, the recycled “cups” holding and supporting the young corn seedlings partially mulched with hay.  Soon they will disintegrate and biodegrade, feed the earthworms, micro-organisms and whatever living beings there which find recycled paper deliciously edible, then back to becoming part of the soil again.