Plant matter is a resource we should be keeping out of the landfills. But what do you do if you don't have the space for a compost pile or you don't want to be constantly running outside
with your kitchen scraps? Vermicomposting is the answer and , even better,a worm bin is efficient when you're continually adding new material, unlike your outdoor compost pile. Composting at home in a worm tub is most suitable for smaller families and apartment dwellers, or can be used in combination with an outside composting method. A well-tended worm bin shouldn't smell, so some people will keep them in a kitchen cupboard if they're short on space or just want it handy for adding their kitchen waste. The garage or basement are also possible locations for your worm bin. (Note: do not add animal waste, bones, fats or meat to your bins or compost piles. That will make it smell and draw unwanted visitors!)
Follow the easy steps below to set up your own worm bin and begin vermicomposting at home. Set the finished lidded bin on a couple bricks on a tray to collect any drips. You will keep plant matter out of the landfill and have the benefits of compost and compost tea for your houseplants, worms for feeding birds and pet reptiles and going fishing, too!
See my blog post at http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-pro... for more composting information and worm sources.
Origins Oregon is committed to sourcing the best products, all organic, natural ansd sustainable from Oregon. We encourage the reuse and recycled projects, including spotlighting local artisans that create from reuse and renewal. We hope to be part of healing our planet and educating people, to bring better health and wellness to their lives. Be well and happy ~ Holly
Visitors to the farm are usually surprised to learn that we water the entire garden and landscape with only reclaimed rain water. Our system, which collects and stores rainwater from our
barn's metal roof, provides 100% of our annual watering needs. The best part, it was extremely easy to install, and can be inexpensively adapted to almost any home, shed or roof with a gutter.
We spent the past week hooking our tanks back up from winter storage - and within 24 hours - we had just over 150 gallons stored from a single rain. It's been over a year now since we first completed the rain collection system - and I honestly don't know how we survived without it.
It gives us access to free water, and with our two plastic tote tanks, can collect as much as 550 gallons from a single downpour. And that's only using rain from the back portion of the roof! This spring, we will add a third tank fed by the front gutter - increasing our storage to just shy of 900 total gallons - enough to handle our watering needs for nearly two months of complete drought.How it works:
The system collects rain water from a simple adapter made to fit our existing barn's gutter. The barn has a standard gabled metal roof measuring 13 wide' x 32' long on each side. A 32' section of guttering runs along the bottom of each side of the metal roof, slanted slightly to carry all of the water to the eastern side of the barn. From there, both sides empty into standard downspouts.The front downspout (not used currently), runs down and out to the field for normal drainage. On the back downspout however, we installed a simple 2-way in-line diverter (See Picture). When the metal lever is slid to the left, rain water is diverted into a 275 gallon storage tank located below the downspout. When all tanks are full, the switch can be slid back for normal drainage.From the main storage tank, we pump and fill a second 275 gallon tank installed above our garden. With that, we can water all of our plants quickly, using gravity and a standard garden hose connected to the tank.To increase capacity and mobility, we are adding a second diverter to the front gutter this year. That will fill a 3rd tank mounted on wheels - giving us the ability to pull water anywhere it's needed with our tractor. That will be a huge time saver when it comes time to water the newly planted grapevines and fruit trees on the hill this year.
Here is a look at the system's components and cost:
Totes: $40 each We found ours for $40 each after searching on Craigslist. You can also check with local food plants that may receive their raw materials in them. One word of caution - make sure you know what was originally in your tanks and that it is safe. Our tanks were used to hold maple syrup and molasses - simple food products that can be cleaned out and re-used. You will want to avoid using tanks that held harsh chemicals. Most tanks come with a 6" threaded cap on top, and a 2" threaded outlet valve at the bottom. You can convert the bottom 2" valve to accept a standard garden hose with a few adapters found at your local hardware store.
Diverter Switch : $15 You can find standard gutter diverters at your local home improvement store for about $15 - they install in minutes with rivets or screws.
Threaded Valve and Hose Adapter: $15 Your local plumbing or hardware store can hook you up with a simple threaded connection valve to convert the 2" drain at the bottom of your tank to handle a regular garden hose. We also installed a ball valve ($10) on our tank for an extra shut off point.
A couple of final notes on collecting and using rainwater:
Keep It Dark: You will want to keep the water from getting direct sunlight to keep algae from growing in the stagnant water. Algae can only grow if there is light. If your tank is translucent like ours, you will want to cover it. We use a black waterproof material (like grill cover material) to cover ours once the summer sun and heat become a problem. Not only does it dress it up, but it keeps the water and the flow line crystal clear.
Keep It Closed Off: No matter what system you use to store your water, you will want to keep it covered. Water that sits is an open invitation to mosquito larvae . Our totes came with 6" caps and lids on the top. We simply cut out the hole for the downspout, and then sealed the edge with some inexpensive foam.
Know What To Use The Water For: We only use our reclaimed water for watering plants or washing off equipment ,etc. Since we do not treat it in any way, we do not use it for drinking.Check to make sure your allowed to collect rain water. It sounds crazy, but in some states out west you are not allowed to collect rain water, as the water rights still belong to the state. So to be on the safe side, check with your local or state government to make sure it's legal where you live.
Happy Gardening!! - Jim and Mary.
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Each year I enjoy working in my vegetable garden. It is just large enough to give me the variety that we like. I've tried to design it in a manner that enables me to not only rework it
each year, but to maintain it throughout the growing season. The photos are from two different years. I prepare the ground by cultivating it with a tiller. I then add miracle grow dirt and mix it in, and I use Miracle Grow Liquid Fertilizer. I do this each year. The landscape logs are two high so I can keep adding dirt. I'm also working with Georgia clay. The mulch allows me easy access to the plants and helps keep the weeds under control. I have the water connected to my sprinkler system. I also use a portable sprinkler at times.
Commented on Feb 23, 2013
Thank you for the tip that tomatoes doing better when grown closer to the house. I've grown
tomatoes in direct sunlight and they don't seem to do well.
It felt wrong when i had the thought to buy a picnic table for the back yard. In hind sight, it would have been way cheaper and saved 3 days of my life... but, how cool is this table?!?
i bought Ipe, Tiger Wood, and Ceder for this project and hand rubbed 3 coats of oil for the finish. I know the sun will destroy the look within a few months, so she is going to be high maintenance with a sand and oil every year.
A few tip's:
-S.A. hardwoods are very dense! This allows a thinner material to span a longer gap with less deflection. For this project, the top is made out of 1 x 4 material.
-One of the many nick names for Ipe is "iron wood" it will sink in water, and it has helped to make this top more than i can handle alone. This also requires pre-drilling for fasteners.
-The end cuts are sealed immediately after cutting with Ipe wax to prevent checking
-The miters all received 2 - 10mm x 50mm Festool Sipo Mahogany Tenons, wiped with alcohol, glued with titebond 3, and clamped for a few hours to dry. This is not a DIY machine, but may be substituted with the use of biscuits, splines, or dowels.
-Wear a mask when cutting and sanding!! Many carpenters catch an upper respiratory infection when building S.A. decks. This has been argued that it is due to the water and bacteria in that wood we are not used to, others say it's just because the dust is much finer. regardless of who is right, wear a mask or use dust extraction.
-Order extra! This is not stock lumber, infact i had to pay freight to get these pieces trucked to my house from the online merchant. I had a few pieces that were bowed just enough that i couldn't use them... better to have too much than not enough on a special order build...
-Learn your finishes! My first two coats were with Messmers UV Plus. his really brings out the grain and contrast within the woods... makes it come alive. I wouldn't do more than 2 coats of a toner, my final coat was the Festool SurFix exterior oil blend worked into the surface.