This book felt really good in my hand and I really liked the paper it was printed on and the colors and PHOTOGRAPHY. The design aside, inside was fillThis book felt really good in my hand and I really liked the paper it was printed on and the colors and PHOTOGRAPHY. The design aside, inside was filled with good information on how to go about making your own compost and how to have a successful pile. My goal for my garden is to make enough compost to enrich my kitchen garden. I used purchased worm castings last year because I can't find a good place to keep a worm bin in the winter and my husband has a hard time with the idea of having a worm bin in general) and *some* compost - but I don't have nearly enough at the moment.
What I especially appreciated was the laid back approach the author obviously has with regards to composting. Of course you CAN go and buy compost activator and use it and CAN buy expensive compost tumblers to speed up the time in which you can make compost but it's not really necessary if you are patient. He mentions that if you start with a pile of stuff it will all eventually become compost and most of it within about 11 months. If you have the right ratio of soft waste (kitchen scraps, grass clippings) and hard waste (thin branches, etc) it will happen sooner.
This confirmed that I need to get a second bin just like the one I currently have. The stuff keeps decomposing down but I just keep throwing new kitchen scraps on top of it and am never able to really use it unless I get to the bottom stuff which is rather hard to do even though I have ample space in my bottom opening. So all in all a good book for those interested in starting to make and use compost in their own garden....more
The idea that I like is that it reminded me that I want to grow more things vertically this year to get the most out of my kitchen garden. I also loveThe idea that I like is that it reminded me that I want to grow more things vertically this year to get the most out of my kitchen garden. I also love that it encourages you to get away from the mindset of planting in rows and following the seed packets word for word in terms of spacing. From experience, raised beds are excellent for starting a garden from scratch. I created and tended two 8'x4' raised beds when I lived in our former house that didn't have a backyard garden (we were in a townhouse at the time so I also planted heavily in containers on our deck - my first plant was chives and I absolutely think they are the perfect first herb for kitchen gardeners as they are so easy to grow... but that has nothing to do with this book - LOL!).
So let's get back to the book...What I didn't like was the planting mix recommended and the need for soil testing. I read the newer edition (from my local library) as well as the older one that I had on my shelf to compare. The newer one eliminates the need for soil testing but I think makes use of peat in the recommended soil mix, which is not renewable, so is rather taxing on our planet if everyone went out and built a garden like this. I'm much more in favor of building up the soil with compost. And them measuring for each square foot and nailing it down with window blinds!!! Are you kidding me? I just can't imagine myself doing this (though I was tempted to try this method next season for the sheer reason of getting rid of all of the weed seed - what I SHOULD do it just put some black plastic or newspaper down now and plant through it come spring).
I also don't think I would like how everything will *look* in a garden of this sort. The tomato will be in this square. And the lettuce will be in this square. It just seems too orderly (even for someone fairly anal such as myself). Also if all of my lettuce and carrots are planted in their own square all together isn't this like open invitation to the bunnies that frequent my garden to come right in and make themselves at home to our square-foot buffet? The only reason I had some lettuce and arugula available is because some of it was hidden under some other plant and they couldn't get to it. (Yes, I should probably look into some protective covering... and I DID use some this year on the strawberries but the birds still got to the ripe berries. I was so frustrated with our lack of berries that I pulled the pushes a few weeks ago and tossed them in the compost. Of course, I sorely regretted it two days later... but these are the challenges that we invite into our lives when we pick that seed pack and shovel).
I am aiming for more of a casual kitchen garden - a cottage garden of fruits/vegetables/herbs (though I am very far from having this garden ideal since I haven't found any good references on this subject but not for lack of trying. So mainly it's been trial and error. I've either found lots of books on formal kitchen gardens and one where you would need to become a full time landscape architect to be able to have the time and knowledge to be able to implement such designs). But I have a strip of dirt on the side of my house... no room to make fancy hexagonal herb gardens that you would need a gardener on staff to maintain. I envision rosemary intermingling with peas, and tomatoes getting cozy alongside basil, lavender alongside green beans. I am continually inspired by the French potager gardens and the casual Italian kitchen gardens that I've seen. Maybe this is too idyllic or maybe it IS something that can become a reality.. along with the garden arch full of trailing roses that are free of disease (which has a few years yet before these will even be purchased)... but I still have a lifetime to perfect it. And as all gardeners know, despite these trials and frustrations out in the garden, when December and January roll around we will be right there by the mailbox awaiting the seed catalogs for the new year. I've already started collecting the stack that started arriving and making a list for the essentials that I MUST have in next season's garden. I can just taste the potatoes now (that will be grown in an old garbage can on the deck just as soon as Mike drills holes in it or shows me where the drill is)!...more
I liked that they were at a museum and looking at dinosaurs. I learned that I learned about a new species of dinosaurs that I didn't know about beforeI liked that they were at a museum and looking at dinosaurs. I learned that I learned about a new species of dinosaurs that I didn't know about before....more