Saturday, September 14, 2013

Making Black Gold

Posted by Paulette

When David and I moved into our first house we had a huge back yard with lots of room for gardening. I had my vegetable garden and my flower garden with room to spare. The best part of that yard was a large space, probably 15'x 10' for making compost. He crowed about his plans to make black gold. I thought black gold was oil. How were we going to make oil? He soon taught me about compost, the food for plants. We moved away from that house more than 10 years ago and when we tried to garden in Arizona, we were a dismal failure. Right away we started with some recycled trash bins with holes drilled into them and the bottom cut off. We thought we were on our way to gardening Nirvana. Our hopes and dreams were dashed when we planted our first garden in March and watched our precious tomato plants shrivel and die in the heat. We didn't get even one tomato! The soil here is clay. Not the best for gardening in. So we had two strikes against us; the heat and the soil.
Time for us to go to school.  Our visions for our dream gardens are starting to take shape. After attending a class taught by Donna, we learned that the compost bins that we were trying to use for a decade were ineffective, and why. Our compost was taking FOREVER to decay and break down. I found plans for a composing system that was in line with Donna's teachings. Today we put it together.
 Our new system is made of 4 pallets which were $3 each at our feed store. I need to find a source where I can get them for free. The stakes were about $4 each, and we used 8 of them.
Our new system cost $44. We were lucky to get free mulch from Donna. She asked a landscaper to dump some in her driveway. It only took 3 weeks for her gardening friends to haul away what she didn't use. It's the lovely stuff in the center. This will be where we pull our brown waste from. The green waste will come from our kitchen and yard. The left and right sides of the system are for the composting. One active and the other inactive, and will be rotated every three months. If you are local and want to learn more about the science of composting, comment with your e-mail, and I'll send you Donna's info. Classes are $15 per person and $25 per couple.
She's a very insightful person. Here's her blog: Sharing Life's Abundance.

And here's the original system that inspired my easy peasy one.
 If you'd like to follow my Pinterest board for gardening it's here:

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