Putting stuff in my garden beds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by SweetSarah, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    I know it's good to put in egg shells and coffee grounds, but what about these?:

    -egg yolks (hardboiled)
    -orange peels
    -used tea bags
    -evergreen garland

    Thanks!
     
  2. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They would be better if composted first (put in a pile with a lot of other organic material and left to rot) but yes, all can be added to the garden. You could dig a little hole to put them in to make sure they rot better and don't look as bad as just tossing them on the ground. Except the garland, if you have strawberries the garland would be an excellent mulch. Or save to put on your potatoes when you plant them, or just toss them on the garden now.
     

  3. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    The garland wouldn't have too much acid? We plan on growing tomoatoes, eggplant, bell pappers, cucumbers and zucchini.
     
  4. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nah, it should be fine.

    If you are concerned about acidity, then compost it. Otherwise, I'd just chop it up a bit and toss it on the beds.

    But that's me. YMMV.

    Pony!
     
  5. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would not compost the orange peels. I put them in my window boxes and they repel cats from digging in them.

    They don't readily break down. So I use them as repellents.

    Everything else I compost. I sheet compost so there is never any problem about acidity because I have enough "greens" and browns that make perfectly balanced ph.
     
  6. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    We are very new to gardening. The past two years we have bought a few little plants of this and that and basically planted them, watered, weeded occasionally and hoped for the best. We've had pretty good success so far but this is the first year we have actually been preparing the gardens over the winter. My husband built two beautiful raised beds which we filled with leaves from the fall. We have been throwing in (as we remember:) ) our egg shells, banana peels and coffee grounds. In the spring we plan on buying some topsoil and covering it all over just before planting. Any other tips would be appreciated. Thank you. :)
     
  7. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't put the citrus in there. Any and all veggies peals would be good for it. No need to compost them first. Anything that breaks down fairly quickly would be okay to bury as a side dressing, but the stuff that takes a long time probably should be composted.

    I built my best raised beds by doing a lasagna bed. I started by covering the grass with cardboard, then layered grass clippings, hay from the pasture, rabbit manure, chicken manure, newspaper, kitchen leftovers (no meat & no citrus), tossing in more every time I had some. Then added more cardboard, and covered the whole thing with a thin layer of top soil (just enough to keep the wind from blowing the cardboard away). It was about 2 feet high with all the stuff I put in there. By spring it had settled down to just a few inches. I did that in the fall and planted in the spring.

    If you are near a cotton gin, the cotton gin trash is excellent for garden beds. If you have a friend with goats, offer to clean out their barn. That stuff is like gold for the beds.
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I would, especially in smaller quanities! They'll break down as fast or faster than a lot of other fruits and vegetables if they are in smaller pieces. Due to their chemical makeup, they just need different means of decomposing. Often, yeasts must first get rid of the sugar. Then the soil bacteria can take care of it. Also, it must be done from the inside out since the outer surface is designed to repel bacteria. That's why it appears to take forever to break down.

    Also, the pine boughs from the garland should be shredded for quickest decomposition. Have a bagging mower? Run the boughs through that several times. They're fresh and soft and won't hurt it. Just did that with 14 "used" Christmas trees. Stripped the boughs off and attacked them with an 18" rear-bagging Toro. About 75 gallons of fine-shredded stuff. Yes, the wood and needles are acidic, as low as 4.5 pH, but much of the acidity is lost after they break down. If your soil is so acid that pine needles would make it worse, then you'd need help from a lot of lime. Besides, most vegetables do better in slightly acidic soil.

    Martin
     
  9. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    My little garden is too tiny to accommodate a compost bin/heap, so instead I dig small holes to bury kitchen scraps of all kinds (except meat, bones and such). Occasionally I remember to empty the vacuum cleaner bag in the garden, too. It all breaks down in time to improve the soil. The worms do a good job of moving things around for me. They're as efficient as a garden fork, but a fair bit slower.

    You can always hurry things along a little by putting your kitchen scraps through your food processor before adding it to the soil or compost heap! Or, if you've got a lot - run it over with the lawnmower.
     
  10. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    SweetSarah: (love that monniker!) I post a lot of little "what-I'm-doing-today-things" at the tightwad tips thread on countryside families. I mention this because you may want to get some other frugal ideas for just starting out.

    One thing I do is bring a bucket to gatherings where there if food: like church suppers and bring home all the coffee grounds. You probably know that starbucks gives away coffee grounds too.

    I compost almost all paper products that come into our home because we must haul our own garbage. Cereal boxes are opened and used as garden paths. I usually don't even bother shredding. Our chickens "shred" the heavier paper and junk mail I throw in there. When it combines with their manure, it makes perfect compost (and no smell!)

    I offer to rake friends' pine needles and always am on the lookout for bagged leaves. Because of these frugal things and saving my own seed and trading for seed, I am able to provide 80 of my families veggie needs.

    Good luck with your little garden.
     
  11. Phantomfyre

    Phantomfyre Black Cat Farm Supporter

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    I'd throw it all in, but I might bury the egg yolks to try to deter critters (in my case, the neighbor's dogs... :rolleyes: ), I might remove the little staple from the string on the teabags (I'm a little anal about things like that :shrug: ), and I'd probably use the pine boughs for mulch, then till it in later. No worries on the citrus peels here, but I often add my compost to the garden while it's still coarse. Lazy composter + impatience = coarse compost. :p

    You've got a compost bucket/container sitting in the kitchen sink or on the counter, right? If not, get one. I use a gallon ice cream bucket. Having a dedicated container available makes it so much easier to remember (that's how I "trained" DH), and makes the compost contributions easier to transport! All non-meat kitchen scraps go in there. Potato peels, coffee grinds and filters, egg shells, cherry stems, any little bit we trim off any veggie, dead leaves off my houseplants, nut shells, floor sweepings (if it's all dirt and cat hair, etc.), everything! (But bones and meat scraps go in our burn barrel, and the ashes get added to the garden later. (We only burn paper and sticks in there.))

    I hope this helps a little,
    Diana
     
  12. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    Wow. You guys are have given such great info. I feel like I might be getting a better idea about this whole gardening thing. :) Feel free to keep the tips coming. I really appreciate each and every one.

    And yes we do keep a composting bucket in the kitchen. But my goodness does it get stinky!! What do you do to remedy that? I guess I'll just have to work at dumping it every day instead of every few days.
     
  13. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a 1/2 gallon container on the counter top, and a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid (cat litter container) outside by the back door. When I do the dishes, I dump the countertop container into the outside bucket. When the outside bucket gets full, I carry it back to the garden and either dump it right on the beds, or pop it into a compost bin. Either way, I cover what I dump with leaves or straw or shredded paper.

    Works for us. :)

    Pony!
     
  14. catmar

    catmar Well-Known Member

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    I have a worm bin in the basement for my kitchen scraps & coffee ground (We drink alot). All I do is every day I bundle up the scraps in my DS leftover brown lunch bag & bury it in the bin. Once a week I shred a nespaper in the bin. Every six months or so I empty the whole bin in the garden, I only keep some of the worms & a about a gallon of the compost to get the next batch going.
     
  15. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    Does this make your basement stinky?
     
  16. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    And where do you all get your worms?
     
  17. catmar

    catmar Well-Known Member

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    No, the bin smells like earth (I like it). If there is an odor coming from it, then I add some more newspaper on top. The only time we have a problem with odors is when we would put alot of fruit. But we ajust & learn, I now bury most of that in the back yard.

    I originally ordered my worms from worm-a-way.
    http://www.wormwoman.com/acatalog/index.html

    But I now have a few generations past that. It started as a project for my DS.
     
  18. Phantomfyre

    Phantomfyre Black Cat Farm Supporter

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    Our bucket doesn't ever really smell. Not unless I put something in there that was going bad to begin with... :rolleyes: Pony's idea is a great one. One of my compost piles is out near the barn, so I just take the container out when I feed the horses. But even then, I only take it out every other day or so. :shrug: Maybe try adding shredded paper (junk mail) to the container. That would soak up excess moisture that might be causing the decay process to speed up. Or line the container with a piece of newspaper - that would have the additional benefit of making the container easier to empty and keep clean.

    Source for worms: bait shop! Ask for red wigglers, NOT nightcrawlers. Or you could go dig some up, but red wigglers are supposed to be the best for vermiculture, IIRC. You can also order them online, believe it or not. I don't think a worm bin would smell, done correctly, but I've not done it myself. I would expect an "earthy" smell, but nothing more.

    Enjoy your compost, however you decide to do it!

    Diana
     
  19. Phantomfyre

    Phantomfyre Black Cat Farm Supporter

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    I was still typing when Catmar responded, oops! But I guessed right! :p

    We must think alike, Catmar. :D

    Diana
     
  20. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

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    If you use a clothes dryer and dry loads of cotton fabrics like towels, jeans, sheets, you can add the dryer lint to the compost too. I have also buried shreds of cotton fabrics like denim, shirts, etc. after I have cut them up for quilts.