Watching grass grow…

This morning Mr. Hot Stuff came in all excited and said “Hey come look! Come look! My grass is growing!”

A couple weeks ago he spent a lot of time under the spruce tree in our backyard raking up years worth of accumulated pine needles that were choking the soil. It is a pretty much bare spot that would only grow the occasional weed and we wanted it to be grass. So he raked up the needles, replanted some grass seed and raked it in with compost, manure and peat moss. He’s been faithfully watering it for a week or 2 and this morning he was so excited to finally see little blades of grass. It seemed like they came out of nowhere although they were in some places an inch long, so I know they have been there for a little bit but we just didn’t notice them.

When we came back inside, he remarked that now he knew what it felt like for me showing him all the new sprouts in my garden 🙂

And in terms of the garden, here’s the latest. My radishes (2 squares) are up. I’m going to plant another 2 squares this weekend. One of my potato bins has 2 potatoes showing. Some of my onions are going strong but since I never hardened them off a lot of them have died. I think I’m going to stop by the local nursery tomorrow or whenever I have a chance and get some onion starts. I could go by seed also, since I have plenty left, but I want to get the head start that I would from starts.

My compost bin is heating up! Although I don’t think the entire bin is heating up… more like just in the spots where I’ve been adding my kitchen scraps. I make myself a lot of crudites to take to work for snacks and so I generate quite a bit of fruit and veggie waste. Today it was the peelings and trimmings from 4 large carrots, 4 large stalks of celery, one kiwi, a half a cucumber and the tops from about 6 or 7 large strawberries and 5 radishes. Add to that a banana peel from breakfast, Ballerina Girl’s leftover toast you’ve got a good plateful of scraps already, and that’s just the morning. We do this every day.

So the other day I went to take out the day’s scraps and when I was burying them I noticed HEAT! My first time ever. Of course I was excited and made Mr. Hot Stuff come out and see. I even dug a bit around so he could feel the heat and see the steam. The whole pile is definitely not heating up, though. I did see a couple sunken spots where I’d put scraps so I think it’s just those localized areas. We’ll see.

I’ve started picking up coffee grounds from the local Starbucks. I don’t particularly like their coffee or support the big business enterprise… but as lame as it is, I haven’t found one locally owned coffeehouse that is willing to save grounds for their customers. On the other hand, Starbucks even has a bin inside the store where they put them, they have a system set up that makes it easy for us. I’ve got quite a bit on hand already and will be checking for grounds in the mornings before work, since they are on my way. This weekend I’ll turn the compost pile and add all the grounds that I’m able to collect. I know my pile isn’t heating up enough just because I don’t quite have enough greens… so that’s the easiest source for me of a large amount of greens. This morning I got at least a kitchen trash bag size full of grounds, and yesterday I got 2 5-pound coffee bags full of grounds. I’ll just keep collecting through the week and by Sunday when I actually do the turning I’m sure I’ll have tons. That oughta heat up the pile pretty good and give me some finished compost pretty soon. I’ve been cold composting since all last year but I am ready to start working on heating it up and getting the right balances. I have a garage full of bagged leaves that I got in the fall (seriously, I have about 25 bags) and so that and the coffeegrounds, veggie scraps, garden waste, etc. will probably allow me to make enough compost this summer to top off the beds this fall.

And as far as my started seeds, my cucumbers. basil and marigolds are up so far. I admit I haven’t checked in about 2 days so the other plants might be up also. I’ve been hardening off my other plants (the wrong way, I might add… I didn’t start them as slow as I could have). I plan on planting them outside in the 17th, so they have a good 2 weeks to get used to being outside before being set out. Once all the rest of the plants downstairs germinate I might just let them go outside too. The seeds I have downstairs are 3 types of cukes, marigolds, basil, million dollar melon (I thought I got Charentais but couldn’t find them) and also my Jarrahdale pumpkins.

My garlic yesterday was looking a bit yellowed, kinda like Granny’s, and so I was thinking I should make some cornmeal tea (that’s what you used, right?) but then this morning they looked green and strong. It did rain pretty hard last night so maybe they just needed a drink. I’ve got most of the hoses cut for my irrigation system, I mostly just now need to put them all together and install it in the garden. That will make it a lot easier to water it. I was going to get it done this weekend but didn’t have the time… and really, I figure as long as I can get it in by the time most of my plants will go in (2 weeks) I should be fine. I still have few enough plants that I can water using a watering can at this point.

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  1. Yes, I used cornmeal tea and I a impressed at how quickly my garlic looked better! I’m glad yours were only yellow due to lack of water, not a disease!

  2. I too use starbuck’s coffee grounds as the kick start to heat up my pile. Of course right now I’m into the too-much green season, so my kitchen scraps include more paper towels, shredded newspaper and napkins, etc. It’s the browns I’m struggling for to keep the fires burning so-to-speak. Of cours my wife reminded me that she’s got tons of dryer lint which works well in moderation too. It’s amazing what you can find that’s compostable!

    Keep up the great work!

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