Archive for February, 2013

Frugal Gardener-Could Worms Be The Answer?

Costs continue to spiral.   Attempts  to  become  more self sustaining  are , well,  discouraging.

Grow my own.  I need land!  I need seeds!  I need fertilizer!

I NEED HELP!

I have experimented with container gardening using the e-Bucket system.   Raised beds  utilizing close spacing similar to square foot methods has given gratifying harvest.    Conventional  gardening with chemical fertilizers has  given good results but they all are less than cost effective; I rely on outside sources for fertilizers and soil amendments.

I prefer organic materials to chemical additives but compost has been scarce when I attempted my own and expensive  when  obtained from outside sources.     What is a body to do?

A few chickens offer a source for manure for my compost;  a generous gathering of leaves will supply an abundant  source of carbon for my pile this year.  BUT limited energy  plays havoc  with  plans for larger compost piles.

I am on my way, but spring is fast approaching; my compost pile is slowly doing its thing—I don’t have the stamina to finish it via the 14 day method.

What’s A Body To Do?

Vermicomposting just might  be the answer to my dilemma.  If half the hype is to be believed, I can look forward to some interesting results.worm  bin

Cost wise, after start up, I got it made.

Scraps that I have been wasting will be returned to the earth from which it came.  Why, even junk mail and newspaper waste will be part of my fertilizer cycle, Fetida and Hortense will turn them into that substance that I call the junk when I receive it.

My chicken manure composting process will be speeded up and enhanced with worm poop;  the wigglers will finalize the process with no strenuous effort on my part.

Vermicasting tea promises not only fertilizing properties by insecticidal and fungal control  as well.  Simple to make,  easy to  use; cost effective, too.

MEET MY MIRACLE WORKERS

December 20, 2012 I took the first  step.

The Eisenia fetida, also known as the Tiger worm or Red Wiggler, became a part of my gardening plan when I plopped them into their new home in my computer room.   YEWH!   Guess what?   Two months and 10 pounds of kitchen scrap slurry later, THERE IS NO SMELL !!!    Fetida are slender, short, little squirmier, they are great eaters, but I want some substance in my worms,too.

That’s why I prepared another bin and installed “Hortense” (Eisenia hortensis ) in a new home today.  About the size of a pencil and up to 8 inches long, I figured they should really chow down on the waste I feed them.  Who knows, I might even get  some fisherman interested in using a few.

Vermiculture (worm farming) is going to be an interesting experiment for me this year.   Already I have learned more than I ever knew about vermi poop.

Will  worms prove to be an answer to some of my problems?   We’ll see.

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Three Score and Ten Years Plus

We are promised 3 score and 10 years as a good life time.  That gift is my  reality with bonus added.   Looking  back, the really amazing fact is that, I have made it .

Maybe the fact that  the Lord protects children, and looks after fools is true!

Growing up in rural Saluda County, SC in the late 1940 through 1950′s was an interesting experience.  Town was 5 miles away; our  only transportation was a battered old red truck Daddy used to get to work, or the mule and one horse wagon Grandpa Gis used for every other transportation need.

I felt a clear distinction between the “rich town folk” and us “p’or folk”.

My early childhood memories are a chilling example of the conflicting emotions of snobbish contempt for those believed to be, somehow,  ”better than me” and a burning desire  to have what “they had”. 

Why did I feel this way?

My parents never taught me to diminish my value; but, come to think of it, I was never encouraged to reach out, to believe that I could become a part of a world outside the restricting little community I was born into.

As a six to 10 year old child, I observed.

Rather than viewing community improvement as a signal for opportunity,  I viewed them as  a painful reminder;  I was not of  ”their world”.

As a young child I remember feeling  I was the beggar under the rich man’s table searching  for scraps.

A child often misunderstands intents of adults; a resentful child assigns negative motives to simple acts of kindness.

Sadly, in my childish mind, simple acts of kindness and caring,  emphasized the  differences in the worlds of the “haves and  have-nots”.

It frightens me to realize where this could have led.

The world turned on its head during the decades of the 60′s  and 70′s;  unthinkable events took place; social systems crumbled; a world that was, literally ended

My generation was forced to examine its convictions and act on them, for better or worse–there  was little choice.

There were many who allowed the poisonous ideas of a world  of  ”have and have-nots” to fester to a point of  eruption that threatened the existence of  both worlds.

I graduated high school in 1959,  my resentment and discontent was gone.   I knew who I was; what I stood for.

Why change in my thinking?

 How was I able to smother the seeds of  bigotry that were taking root when I was so young?

I began to recognize two things when I was about 10 years old.

About this time I began to think very seriously about God.  I remember sitting in the cab of that old red truck studying, feeling a thrill that there is a personal God who cares.    I came to really believe that it does not matter who you are, what you have; He sees, smiles, guides.

It was then that I determined that I would do what I  understood to be God’s will no matter the consequences;  I began to see my limited  possessions, talents and opportunities as godly gifts.

I was only 10, but  I understood.

The Saluda School System  was in its infancy 60 years ago; but what a world those dedicated  teachers opened to those thirsting for knowledge.   The names  Bradley, Waters, Cromley,  Bullard, Carson, Forrest still shine as examples of ones who cared  in my  early years.

It is not so much the principles of life that I remember from them;  it is the love of knowledge, information–simply coming to know I can do it, that I treasure.

In high school the learning of life values was an osmotic process as I watched those guiding  me through the  educational process.   I learned method, but more importantly, I observed  in their lives morality, trustworthiness, commitment to principal.   They seemed to have something to give; they gave from their hearts.

In the dark ages of my youth , the value of higher education was not recognized as it is today.

High School graduation was the goal of the majority; a few would be privileged to go further.

Finances limited opportunity; but I think there was  a feeling  that higher education was simply a way to avoid getting on with  ”real life”.

Personally, I never  pursued a higher education, first for financial reasons; later becoming involved in life’s pursuits gave me an excuse for avoiding the commitment to a scholastic life, in short, I am lazy.

I am so glad that I did absorb the understanding that information is out there–I can find it.

It has been my privilege to  associate with many well educated, intelligent people who have been willing to tolerate my presence — I learned  from them.

Materially I still have less than some but I feel rich beyond compare; life has been good.