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I’ve moved this post about Emergency Weather Radios to the Prep For Today Podcast show notes.

Read the full post and and listen to the podcast episode at PrepForToday.com.

Thanks,

Steve.

My post on vermiposting at enjoytimeoutdoors.com…

Worms Ate My Garbage- A Lesson in Vermiposting.

I just posted a new blog post about the 2011 berry container garden on my other blog,  http://enjoytimeoutdoors.com .

High Hopes for the 2011 Berry Patch.

Most of my new posts are being published on my new blog, EnjoyTimeOutdoors. 

To help ensure you that you see all of the latest content (if you haven’t already) please consider subscribing for email notification or RSS updates over there.  http://enjoytimeoutdoors.com

Here’s the link to the post on my 2011 seed starting system…

Preparing the 2011 Container Garden- Starting Seeds.

Thanks,

Steve.

Compost Bin 2.0

Compost Bins 1.0Last year I made two home-made compost bins out of old Rubbermaid containers.  The original post about these bins can be found here.

While those  compost bins worked pretty well, they didn’t work quick enough (for my liking) or net enough of the much-needed end product.  With so many landscape beds in rough shape I can use all of the good organic matter I can get.  I prefer to make my own.

With all of the yard debris, trimmings, and kitchen scraps the capacity of the old compost bins quickly maxed out.  The also took a little fine tuning to keep them mixed, aerated and not ‘stinking’.  I still have them around, even though they haven’t made any progress since the temperatures dropped last fall.

After a lot of research and consideration of various compost bin designs and options, several weeks ago I opted to purchase a professionally manufactured compost tumbler.

Compost Bin 2.0

Compost Bin 2.0

I bought the Lifetime 60021 75-Gallon Compost Tumbler.
.

This thing is huge, but AWESOME!   It’s a free-standing tumbler that’s about the size of a clothes dryer tumbler.  It ‘s made of super-sturdy double walled molded plastic,  has a large removable door, good aeration build into the panels and through the metal aeration tube in the middle, and a super sturdy metal frame with locking pin to keep the tumbler steady in the filling or emptying positions.

Considering how I’ve got it loaded over 50% full, it is quite easy to turn.

I’ve had it for several weeks now and continue to add nearly every kind of compostable material around the house and landscape- coffee grounds, kitchen veggie scraps, egg shells, chipped up ornamental grasses and tree trimmings, leaves, old container soil, spring-cleanup debris from the various beds, etc.

The tumbler is making compost at record speed, especially considering it’s only been sunny and warm for the last week or so.  I can’t wait for this load to finish so I can re-fill it with the contents of Compost Bins 1.0.

A look inside the tumbler

A look inside the tumbler

Self-Watering Seed Starter System

Self-Watering Seed Starter System

It’s a partly cloudy 34.5 degrees on this beautiful snow-covered morning.   One day after a nice 5-6 inch blanket of fresh snow the melt has begun (again). 

Even though March is just around the corner I haven’t been super-motivated to get the garden seeds started.  Besides the lengthening days, spring just doesn’t feel that near.  This all changes today!

A few weeks ago I picked up a 28-plant self watering system seed starter tray at Menards.  The tray is a Planters’ Pride Self Watering System – Cutting Pots and Water Distribution Tray.  In years past I’ve tried making my own seed starters using toilet paper roll tubes (cut in half) and reusing a variety of disposable nursery-grade high-density four-packs.  Both offered mediocre results, at best.

I’m optimistic that this new tray will work better. 

First, the containers are individual 2.5 inch plastic pots which fit into a custom molded tray.  The tray has individual spots for all of the pots.  Last year’s toilet paper rolls provided limited success.  The seeds sprouted well, but quickly became root bound due to their small size.  I think the 2.5 inch pots will provide plenty of room for good root growth.

Second, Moisture control. The new 2.5 inch plastic pots sit in a molded plastic tray with inter-connected water tracks.  this provides an easy way to water multiple containers at the same time. Each container has four 1/4 inch drainage holes in the bottom.

With the toilet paper rolls it was hard to regulate moisture content.  They quickly went from one extreme to the other.  They had a tendency to dry out and/or wick too much water into the cardboard.   This resulted in mildew problems or dried out soil. 

Third, It’s made of nice quality plastic containers which are reusable and should last for years.  The toilet paper rolls needed to be saved all year, then cut and folded individually.  The super-cheap quality nursery seed start trays I’ve reused often cracked, split or fell apart after a few handlings.

I know that once I get these seeds started the weather will break and spring will zoom right in.  As much as I love snow and winter, I will welcome spring with open arms.

If you have thoughts, comments, or suggestions… please post a comment or stop by the EnjoyTimeOutdoors.com Forum at http://enjoytimeoutdoors.com/forum .

Well, this post is a little late but…

 another 2010 goal  (5000 puzzle pieces) was achieved!

I started the vintage puzzle but couldn’t finish it due to my allergies kicking up.  I’m allergic to some cats and apparently the previous owner of that puzzle had such a cat.

The final 1000 pieces were completed using a couple of $1,  500-piece puzzles from Dollar General.

For cheap (price) puzzles, the die cuts were clean and accurate.  The images were clear and easy to follow.  They were well worth $1.

The 2010 puzzle count ended up being 5,100 pieces, thanks to a cute 100-piece puzzle Lisa got me for Christmas.

The 2011 goal has been set at 6,000, and thanks to Mike and Peg’s Christmas gift, it can be started any day now…

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