Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Keep it for the Soil

      To get good productivity from a garden, you need good living soil.  As you take produce away from the garden, those nutrients are being lost.  Therefore I recycle everything from the garden right on site.  The compost pile sits right in the middle of the garden, so it is never far away.  Weeds, veggie trimmings, leaves and whatever else organic goes either onto the compost pile or directly to one of the wood chip paths.

Sunflower stalks, 4/17/11

      The sunflowers that I rescued last year as baby volunteers from some of the grassy areas next to the gardens grew to be twelve foot monsters!  New volunteers from last years seed heads are coming up now.   Sun flower sprouts are delicious, so if there are too many volunteers, some will find their way to the salad bowl.  The picture above is the pile of stumps or stalks from the sunflowers that were too large for me to break up by hand.  I tried whacking them on the edge of the compost bin, but knew that that would result in a broken down compost bin.  So I rescued a black locust log from the wood pile and hauled it to my garden.

      The two pictures above are of the log and a piece of a red oak board to be used as a whacker.  And one of the monster sun flower stalks that was being ornery.  I started breaking up the stalks in a bed, but that meant picking up the pieces afterwards and moving them to the path.  Much easier to move the log to the path, and do the whacking there.  All I had to do was put about two inches of the sunflower stalk hanging out over the stump.  Whack that two inches with the red oak, and it ususally broke off to the path with very little trouble.  Some pieces took several mashings to break them up.

No more sunflower stalks, 4/17/11

      The lighter colored pieces are the newly broken chips.  Now everything can stay at the garden to be recycled.  The sunflowers did fight back a bit, as when I washed my hands I found a totally popped and angry blister on the palm of my hand.  Maybe I should have done the job a little more slowly.  I would like to find a log about three feet long so it would be at a better working height.  That should not be too hard to find.

1 comment:

  1. I *never* thought of eating sunflower sprouts! When the chipmunk and squirrel stashes start sprouting I'll have a little salad instead of composting them. Thanks for the tip!