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Garden journal entry


Showing off our masonry skills -- or lack thereof
February 03, 2018. Ah, a smaller garden, I thought. I won't need full compost bins, I'll just get one of those nifty tumblers! And so I did, about a year ago: I ordered a boxy black plastic unit online, spent a couple hours assembling it, and eagerly awaited my supply of gardener's black gold. But it never materialized. I guess that some people manage to coax crumbly compost out of one of those devices, but I never got more than half-decomposed stringy mess. Midway through summer, I emptied it out into the bottom of one of the new garden borders I was preparing, and started afresh – with much the same results. It was an eyesore anyway, with no good place to put it. So I gave up on the concept, and returned to what I know: constructed compost bins. I built myself a two-bin system back in Allentown, when bricks were readily available from construction debris piles in my then newly built neighborhood, and guess what: we're in a new neighborhood again, with lots of orphaned bricks laying around. So I selected a spot in the utility part of the side yard, next to the air conditioning units, put down a pad of concrete pavers, and set to making another set of bins. This time with the help of my enterprising son Ben, who was eager to practice the brick-laying skills he had picked up in summer camps at the local technical institute. Alas, both his skills and mine were a bit lacking (and bricks used in home construction have gotten a lot narrower in the 20 intervening years), so the final product is a bit mortar-oozy, and the brick walls a bit wavy. But who cares? It's a fine place for making compost. The bins are smaller than the ones I built in Allentown (after all, it's still a smaller garden), but large enough to allow the critical mass of organic material to come together for some decomposition magic – or so I hope. And boy, is there a lot of material up for grabs in the garden: last month's freeze killed at least the top growth of more than half the garden plantings, so those bins had better start working pronto!

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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