Sunday, November 8, 2009

Raised Beds Dilemna

After reading, flip-flopping, researching (and talking), and flip-flopping again, I decided to do a combination of the square foot gardening mix and lasagna gardening in my 2 new little garden beds - the blog is not called Eclectic Living for nothing! This is the layering I came up with as of right now... We'll see what I actually put down. If you see any major errors in this or see that I'm missing something important, please let me know in the comments or off-list. Here are a few photos of the work-in-progress.

- Layer of wet newspapers

- Very thin layer of diatamaceous earth. This goes back to my issues with pathogens.

- Mixture a la square foot gardening of 1/3 peat moss; 1/3 organic compost; 1/3 top soil (instead of vermiculite)

- Thin layer of dried molasses - mainly just sprinkled

- Mixture (same as above)

- A sprinkling of homemade bone meal

- Transplants

- Mulch around the plants

- Add kitchen scraps in areas not directly around the plants and put light layers of mulch on them throughout the winter (???). These spots will get planted in next spring.

- When it gets really cold in January maybe mulch some more?

Peat Moss or Coconut Fiber??

I have issues with using peat moss. I don't want to contribute to the destruction of the Canadian peat bogs when there is an alternative that is a byproduct of an industry already in existence. So, I looked for coir, aka coconut fiber, but the sheets were expensive and I couldn't find it in bags. Maybe I should look in the pet department/pet stores because I think it's used as bedding also.
But now I have doubts about that because I read a post in which someone said the coconut killed his plants. I need to find out more.
For these 2 beds I'm using peat moss because of the timing and because of the cost/availability. In the meantime I'll be searching for a local source for coconut fiber or an inexpensive online source for the 2 bigger beds I'll be making as time/money allows.
I hope to at least start coloring my enlarged Europe map today. I was going to try to follow the colors of a Montessori map but I think I'll just color it however. I follow the colors for the continents but don't think it will matter much for the countries. Hmmm. Maybe I should use the colors from the command cards since dc will be using those.
What's Cookin'?
- Bread is in the oven (bad me: unsoaked, rushed)
- Hopefully something with pumpkin! I froze 3 cups of the pumpkin I processed yesterday and kept 1 cup in the fridge to use today. I'm favoring pumpkin bread but need to dig out my recipes.


  1. Lots of times there are additives to prevent fleas/bugs in pet products.... I'm a square foot gardener also, replace your coconut/peat moss with spent straw. Farmers love getting rid of it for really cheap & free! since it takes up space & their animals can't eat it since they'll get sick. I just blend my kitchen compost each day & pour it on my garden. It makes the food more easier available since it's smaller & I don't have to deal with trying to cover a bunch of food up. It's good for house plants too!

  2. Thanks for your input. I'm such a newbie at this that I had to google "spent straw" and couldn't find a clear definition. Is it the straw from mucking out stalls?

    I guess they don't have to list the additives for pet products. That would make sense. We had gotten bedding from the feed store (not the fancy one from the pet store) where we got our guinea pigs and they ended up with lice (gross!). We quit using that bedding after someone pointed out that it may have had them (or they came with them since the feed store had outside animals in there also such as chicks and rabbits).

    I can see how blending your scraps would help. Do you have a separate blender that you use for this. I don't think my little blender could handle it.