theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Welcome to the Jungle-er, my garden!

So I came across this picture a few days ago:

This was taken way back in March.

I remember how concerned I was. Would I get anything to grow? What would I do with all that room in there?Well, I guess nature has its way of taking care of somethings for you:

I had never tried growing squash before-they definitely needed some more room, don't ya think?! Notice the cucumber plants struggling for sunshine down at the bottom.

Almost ready for pickin'!

We’ve also had great success with green beans this year!

Yum!

The onions, cabbage and cucumber, melons, and tomatoes show great promise but aren’t quite there yet. But what really has my interest is the pumpkin….

Run, run for your lives! (At least I'm pretty sure that's what I hear all the other garden plants screaming!)

I had never tried to grow pumpkins. My good friend, Rachel suggested I plant them on a small hill outside the garden and that the pumpkin would cover the entire thing. Well, I got a little nervous-we had some gopher interference a couple of months ago, so I put them in the garden. Next to the watermelon and the cantaloupe. Can’t see them? No? They are in there-somewhere- just a growin’ away!

I honestly thought pumpkins would take forever to grow. But there is one big guy who just couldn’t help but take off…..

I'm so excited! He must be a foot or two around.

Then I noticed several more smaller ones starting to grow. I was so suprised how soon they we’re popping up so I went back and looked at the seed packet. “Fruits can reach 6 ft in diameter. Excellent for prize pumpkins!” OMG! Note to self: READ THE SEED PACKET NEXT TIME!”  (LOL!)

But hold on! That’s not all. I was reading one of the many blogs I like to peruse  a few days ago and I saw where this lady had stood her children next to these gigantic “mammoth” sunflowers. She was saying how every year they just kept growing back taller and taller. The first year they we’re approximately 12 ft and now this year they we’re about 20 feet high. I went out to the garden. I stood there for a couple of seconds and gazed at the sunflowers studiously shading my cantaloupe and even part of my gigantic pumpkin plant. Could it be? I quickly waddled over to my seed packets just to check. My eyes grew big. Yep! I had bought mammoth sunflowers! They are about 6 feet high so far. I keep looking for the flower head but they just keep growing-and growing! LOL!

How much taller are these guys gonna get???

Seriously, next year, I have got to do better space planning! If not, I’m afraid my little girl my get lost in there and not find a way out (=

Hope you are all enjoying your summer harvests!


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Starting A Compost Bin, Part 1

Got dried leaves somewhere out in your yard? (You know those ones you meant to rake before the snow began last winter?)

Got kitchen scraps? (Who doesn’t right?)  What about dryer lint or coffee grounds?

Aw, then you my friend have got the goods for some nice compost.

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So what exactly is compost? Compost is that stuff most people (including myself) cart home from their local garden center each spring to try and improve their soil. It’s dark, crumbly, earthy smelling and coveted by many a gardener.

So why would you want to try and make this stuff yourself?

  • It’s saves you money!!! No more large awkward bags of soil. No more gas wasted for a trip to the store.You already have a lot of the stuff needed on hand.
  • It’s really easy! Really! I’ll show you how we got started in a days time in my next post.
  • It’s really great for the environment. The average american family produces over 1200 pounds of organic waste in a single year. Most of it goes to the landfills where they can’t decompose because the conditions aren’t right to allow for that. Composting at home also means you know what’s in your compost-no chemicals you really didn’t intend for and honestly don’t need.
  • Your plants will love it! See how happy these plants are over at Kraft Werke?

So what materials can be composted? Basically anything that was once a plant can be used. There are two main types of materials you want to add to your pile:

  • Brown Materials (carbon rich)-Dried leaves, plant trimmings, straw, pine needles, small branches, dried grass, sawdust, shredded newspaper, dryer lint.
  • Green Materials(nitrogen rich)- Fresh plant and grass clippings, vegetable and fruit waste, tea bags, coffee grounds, hair, fur and barnyard feces (got chickens or cows?).

***DON’T use these things in your compost pile: Meats, grease, fats and oil, dairy products, dog/cat feces,, diseased or invasive plants or roots of bermuda grass and also oleander, eucalyptus and salt cedar.

So how to get started? Simple, start saving up acceptable items from around your house. If you don’t have an item then start asking around if others are willing to share or could use a little free yard work in exchange for the goods you need. We’ve even seen some free listings on Craigslist for this sort of thing.

Then, decide where you’ll want to put your bin in your yard. You’ll want the bin to be a minimum of 30 inches in each direction. If you don’t have a yard there are ways to use an indoor compost bin. I’ve read about apartment dwellers who do it.

Are you still with me here? I know this post has gotten a little (make that a lot) too long. So in tomorrow’s post I’ll show you exactly what we did (promise lots of pics) to get ourselves up and running. It only took us about half a day-not bad for something that has so many benefits! Have fun collecting your materials! Although I’m sure it won’t take you too long. It’s amazing how fast they add up!