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Second Year SFG in Canada

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/8/2016, 5:14 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I'm loving all your photos, TD!  You're a wonderful gardener and it shows!

I wonder if we could use a double thick box as a top hat...? thinking  I think I'll try it next year just for fun.
cc
"Wonderful gardener"??? CC ... You are too kind. I like to experiment and play. Wait til you see what I did this afternoon.

The cardboard top hat is worth a try. I wonder if the cardboard will hold up when it gets wet. My thought on using the cardboard was that it would hold the straw in place and allow me to get the cage back on top before the straw fell out at the sides. Worked well.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Kelejan on 11/8/2016, 5:46 pm

TD, you are making me feel tired. Very Happy
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/8/2016, 6:22 pm

First thing I did today was cleanup the pond. I took out the plants, trimmed tops and roots, used what I took off for composting.  In the photo you cans see some of the plants (mainly water lilies) on the left. The roots were huge and covered in green slime/algae. 


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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/8/2016, 6:27 pm

Now for the second thing I did today.  TD has gone composting crazy. Yes, I actually built another compost pile.  This one is just thrown together using chicken wire, plastic hardware cloth and some stakes. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.



















And the starting temperature in the middle of the pile is 13.1C (44.6F) which was probably the same as the air temperature.



TD ... the mad engineer.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/8/2016, 10:32 pm

Nice, TD!

Wow, lots of work!  

I have a flat pile after repleniing my squares.  Will build with leaves, kitchen waste, straw, etc.  
It worked last year!  Fingers crossed.
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  yolos on 11/8/2016, 11:24 pm

I know from experience, you sure have done a ton of work to be able to get two compost bins filled and cooking.  Way to go.
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 11/9/2016, 3:30 pm

@yolos wrote:I know from experience, you sure have done a ton of work to be able to get two compost bins filled and cooking.  Way to go.
+1

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/9/2016, 4:45 pm

Update on planned activities listed on November 7:


1. Do a final cleanup of the SFG beds including the Table Top. (Started but not completed)
2. Add compost to the SFG squares/beds where not already done. 
(Not started)
3. Put straw mulch on the strawberry bed. 
(Complete)
4. Put straw mulch on the garlic squares/beds. 
(One of two beds completed)
5. Turn the new compost pile (not looking forward to doing that). 
(Not started)
6. Move the pile of wood chips from the driveway to a storage location in the backyard and cover with a tarp. 
(Complete)
7. Move bagged leaves to a storage area (maybe under the big pine tree) and cover with a tarp. 
(Not started)
8. Cleanup the pond (remove pond plants such as water lilies, trim them back, compost trimmings and put potted roots back in pond). 
(Complete)
9. If needed, collect more bags of leaves from neighbours for use next year. 
(Ongoing ... about six more collected)
10. Continue to collect coffee grounds and get some cardboard*** from the coffee shop (nice people working there by the way). 
(Ongoing for coffee grounds daily. Complete on cardboard.)
11. Prepare the lawnmower for winter storage. 
(Not started)
12. Maybe build another compost pile using a simple hardware cloth enclosure (I have to be crazy to even think about doing this). 
(Complete)
13. Mow the front and back lawns for the last time this year. 
(Complete)

*** I may use this cardboard to build a low enclosure to hold in the mulch on the SFG beds before putting the chicken wire cages back over them. If I do this I'll post a photo. 
(Complete)

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/9/2016, 8:22 pm

Good work!
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 11/10/2016, 3:49 am

More than half done?

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/10/2016, 8:00 am

One more thing for the To Do list.


  • Install Christmas lights on the SFG trellis frames" Very Happy  

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 11/10/2016, 12:56 pm

Thanks for the reminder about the lights.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/10/2016, 3:25 pm

The big day arrived. Today I turned the compost in New Bin #1. The temperature in the middle of the bin was 61C (142F) before turning. I found this to be hard work especially since you want to return the outside of the pile to the middle and middle of the pile to the outsides. 


In the first photo we can see how much the contents of the bin have shrunk below the top of the bin.




Here we see the center of the bin after taking off the front outside portion. The haziness is steam rising from the hot contents into the much cooler 12C (54F) outside air.




All emptied out.




Here are the contents in piles on a tarp. The stuff from the top and sides is on the left side of the tarp.  The stuff from the core of the pile is at the bottom right of the tarp.




The bin refilled and some additional materials added to bring it back right to the very top of the bin.




Red tarp (actually an old tent fly) in place and sitting right on top of the material to retain the heat. The white tarp is a temporary cover for the bin until I make a more permanent top.




The temperature in the bin after completing the turning was 20C (68F).

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/10/2016, 3:40 pm

A very brief video of the steam coming out of the centre of the compost bin. Click on the image (may or may not work).

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Kelejan on 11/10/2016, 4:30 pm

I think it worked, TD. Very Happy  I could see the steam.
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 11/10/2016, 10:12 pm

Isn't the steam exciting?? bounce

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/10/2016, 11:11 pm

@sanderson wrote:Isn't the steam exciting??  bounce
It sure is.  

It's going to be interesting to see what happens now that the compost has been turned.  I think I am supposed to turn it every two days from here on. Yikes that's going to be a lot of work if I do it.


Last edited by trolleydriver on 11/11/2016, 8:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 11/11/2016, 3:03 am

Yep Razz The good thing is the weather should be decent. It's a killer here in the summer.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/13/2016, 4:35 pm

I turned the compost in New Bin #1. The temperature in the bin before turning was 66.9C (152.4F). There was a lot of steam rising from the material in the center once I dug into it.

This is what the bin looked like after I took off the top layer and the surrounding edges. What's left is the middle and hottest part of the pile.



Here is an overview of the scene. The dark stuff on the tarp closest to the camera is what was taken from the sides. The small lighter coloured pile of stuff on the far left of the tarp is what came off the top.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/14/2016, 4:28 pm

For Monday November 14, I focused on two main things and one side activity. The side activity was that a neighbor brought over three bags of semi-mulched leaves to add to my leaf bag collection which now numbers about 21 unused bags.

Main Item #1 was to cleanup and add compost to the two 4x4 old style SFG beds. Late in the season and for fun I planted (in one of those beds) a piece of potato which had some eyes sprouting. The plant grew but not very big so a few weeks ago I pulled it out and did not see any potatoes. Today as I was amending that bed I harvested the biggest smallest potato crop ever. Here it is:




Main Item #2 was to turn the compost in New Bin #2. The temperature was showing 59C (138F) before I turned it. I hollowed out the middle hot stuff and then refilled the bin putting the cooler outside and top stuff in the middle.



Here it is refilled.



Click on the image below to see steam coming out of this pile while it was being turned.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  Kelejan on 11/14/2016, 4:57 pm

Well done, TD.  Next year you are going have  so much produce you will be able to take some to farmers' markets.  Or give it to the food bank etc.
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  CapeCoddess on 11/14/2016, 5:17 pm

You sure are a busy beaver, TD! Looks great and the rewards of all you labor will be plentiful, I'm sure.

My new pile received 10 more mower bags of leaves today. I don't like watering it with town water though, but have to. I hope the chlorine isn't killing any of my 'bugs'. Sad
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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  sanderson on 11/15/2016, 4:13 am

As an experiment, you could re-bury those potatoes and see if they sprout next summer. Getting any kind of potato harvest is encouraging for the following year.

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/15/2016, 12:27 pm

@sanderson wrote:As an experiment, you could re-bury those potatoes and see if they sprout next summer.  Getting any kind of potato harvest is encouraging for the following year.
Worth a try. Smile

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Re: Second Year SFG in Canada

Post  trolleydriver on 11/15/2016, 12:32 pm

I should have been doing other things but decided it was time to empty the plastic compost bin and see what I can get out of it.

I got this from the sifted material.



Here are the leftovers starting top left (the driest from the top) and down to bottom right (the wettest from near the bottom of the bin). To reload the bin I'm just going to mix this stuff all together, add some dry chopped leaves, some wet coffee grounds and maybe some green yard waste.



The empty bin.

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