Monday, May 11, 2009

Community Gardens In Our Front Yard

There's an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times Food section about a budding network of community gardens. This makes us very happy. In our dream of what it means to grow enough organic veggies and fruit to sustain our family, we realize we will likely need to expand our 14 x 7 foot garden and/or establish some sort of trade network with other gardeners. It appears as though Heart Beet Gardening is leading the charge locally by trying to form its own CSA. I've reached out to them about contributing produce but, according to their website, it appears as though a significant financial contribution is required to participate. Good for them that they are able to build a business! I'm interested in something truly community-based, maybe even neighborhood based. Has anyone started their own CSA? Or perhaps a fruit/vegetable harvest exchange? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Oh, we're drawing up plans on what the front garden would look like. We've heard rumors that because of the drought the city of Los Angeles is considering paying homeowners to remove their lawns! Yep, we're investigating that rumor.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Composting: It's a Process

Our composting has begun but, I must say, it's not the magical experience I've been reading about on blogs.

a) it does smell
b) we have LOTS of flies

I am now realizing that all of the blogging about how great composting is...the nature of it all...reminds me of what we read about breast-feeding. "Oh, the intense bond", "it's natural", "it's healthy", "it's so easy"... Breast-feeding was certainly NOT easy. At least, in the beginning. And I guess once we all figured out what we were doing, it became easy..ish... I'm hoping for the same results with composting!

MY PROBLEMS (and possible solutions):

  • a) The Smell. I remembered from what I read, I need a good mix of greens & browns. The pile was mostly appropriate food waste and it just looked like it needed some dry leafy matter. I mixed in some already decomposing leaves, and sort of cut everything up into smaller bits and the smell was gone in a couple of hours.

  • b) The Flies. After I added the brown matter, mixed the pile, I covered it with a kitchen garbage bag. It's a temporary solution but it worked!

  • c) I have no heat from my heap! When I hold my hand close to the pile...nada, nothing, zilch. I believe I need green matter, specifically lawn waste. The coolness of my pile makes complete sense given that I haven't mowed the lawn in three weeks! Oh boy do I have a chore ahead of me tomorrow. I dropped the push mower at the shop to get the blades sharpened so, with any luck, my pile will be nice and hot by Tuesday.

  • d) The refuse from my huge clearing! After reading Margaret Roach's column about how she effectively chopped down her HUGE compost pile of sticks, leaves, and branches I'm going to give that a go this weekend as well. I have the space to build a pile dedicated to the batch of stuff. Might as well see what happens.

  • (NOTE: This photo shows one of the two piles of refuse I'm going to try to compost. There's plenty of aggressive, strong, down-right mean bouganvillea branches in there. I suspect they won't breakdown at all and will thousands of years from now be harvested as weapons of war. )

Friday, May 1, 2009

Well, If Google Does It...

We've had pretty heated debate about the usefulness of Twitter in our house. But I found this little nugget today, under the hot top GOOGLE RENTS GOATS. I mean, if Google does it perhaps we should consider the goat. The Kids are sold on and it would be pretty great to see Monica milk the thing...