Friday, April 2, 2010

The Garden Project, Part 2

They say the invention of the plow changed human history.  It's no wonder why.  With $50 and a quick trip to United Rentals, we have transformed the yard.  I had intended to do it all myself, and didn't expect Lyn to help.  But that great axiom of manhood came into play, and once he discovered that it's a power tool, he wanted to play.

Compost.  Mmm compost.  My pile was probably about 1/2 yard total, and I started it over a year ago.  The fluffy stuff on top I moved over, but about half of it was decomposed enough to put on the garden.  And about 25-30% of it right in the middle was totally turned to dirt!  Yay!  Which led me to another interesting discovery.

Look at all these nice, big worms!  There were round ones, flat ones, red & black striped ones...itsty bitsy fuzzy little woooorrrrrmmmmssss....jk.  I was grateful to find them.  Sometimes in this yard it seems like all we have is black widows and potato bugs and ravens.  So much for wildlife!  lol.  We carefully picked them up and put them back on the new compost pile, where they dug in quickly.

Worm Girl

Okay, now the really interesting part.  Trader Joe's has "compostable" packaging for much of their produce.  I usually select it when available, because that's much better than uncoded plastic, kwim?  BUT, I'm wondering under what conditions this stuff will actually decompose.  These were at the center of 1/2 yard of compost, right in the part where everything had turned to dirt.  NOW, I didn't cut most of them up, many of them weren't in there all that long (average time probably ~4 months), and so on.  But many of these had been in there for some time.  All the material around them was at the very least noticeably decomposed.  One of them did get rained on once, and it looks a little mottled, like it might have melted if left underwater for a substantial amount of time.  All of the other packages remained completely unchanged.  That includes one that I buried in the garden, to see if it would decompose faster if it was underground.  That one had been in the center of the garden, so it was not only buried, but had been watered over and everything.  It came up with the rototiller, perfectly intact.  NO decomposition whatsoever.

Are Trader Joe's Compostable Containers a Hoax?

See all the dirt on them?  These were from the center of the pile!

We took down the fence dividing the yard too.  I didn't really want to, I had some grand plan to grow plants on it and make it a green wall to look at when sitting on the deck.  Lyn, the Lawn Hater, has decided he wants grass.  WTF?  Caius wants a lawn too, and so they are going to plant one.  We'll see.  Lyn complained about the cost of water for the turtle tank, so I can't imagine what he's thinking about putting in a lawn.  He bought seeds and everything, after much debate, advice and then just picking one at random, because every single package claimed to use 30% less water.  If they are all using 30% less, then I'd really like to know 30% less than what?  In the end I suggested a high-traffic mix, thinking that maybe it just might survive.  Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of...nevermind.  The fence was so rotten that it practically fell down as we were unscrewing the boards.

It's nice and open now, but of course now you can see how crappy the yard looks, so we'll have to actually make it nice and keep it that way.  It's going to be a challenge without a sprinkler or drip system, but we'll see how it goes.

Sonja the CalTrans Foreman.  Inspected everything, but touched nothing, except the worms.

My helpers

Here's my pretty tin chicken, with some gorgeous geraniums that Sonja picked out.  I started re-barking the walkway too.

And there's the garden plot - all ready for sowing!

No comments:

Post a Comment