Another project we have been working on is composting, and improving our garden beds. This spring our neighbor Troy was kind enough to drive his tractor over and plow our garden plot. Then, several weeks later, he came over and went back and forth over it with his rear-tine tiller. He left a great bed for us to plant in, and then it rained. And rained. The yard was squelching. We did not get the plants in until mid-April, and did not have a bounty of peas, but we DID have a productive garden. However, we are planning even more improvements for next year. Because of the success of this bed....
we have changed the way we garden. Keith has been studying Lasagna Bed gardening, where many layers are put on the ground without tilling or breaking it. This is basically what we did with this flower bed, laying straw from the horseshed full of manure... dirt from bagged dirt (the hard and expensive way to go), grass clippings, and more straw. Then we covered it with wood chips (also expensive). We planted the perennials in this deep bed, and they ran riot all summer and fall. The three boxes of wood you see above are the three original beds. And by early summer, it looked like this....
So now, Keith has spent considerable time the last few weekends working on the compost bins. Thanks to a friend at work, we have bags and bags of leaves and yard cleaning composting. He was kind enough to give them to us in paper sacks, and we put them inside plastic bags to cause them to compost in the bags. We'll add these to our beds in the spring, because now we have four more beds! Keith also strengthened and repaired our original compost bins.
The bags are some of the leaf bags... we have more laying in the vegetable garden.
This is a new bin that Keith bought and set up, it is full of layers of dirt and leaves and other things (chicken house cleanings)
And this will be set up for kitchen garbage, and all the other refuse that goes to make good clean compost.