If we had more room around the TV and this had a fireplace below the TV, I would love to have our mantel look like this.
-Matt

If we had more room around the TV and this had a fireplace below the TV, I would love to have our mantel look like this.

-Matt

(via notmybeautifulhome)

How can we do this?  Along and above the fence outside our living room side window that has an awesome view of the side of our neighbors house?  On the west side of the house to provide shade and keep cooler during the summer?  Something that hangs versus something that climbs?
-Matt
sustainable-sam:

 
Inspiration: Living Curtains

How can we do this?  Along and above the fence outside our living room side window that has an awesome view of the side of our neighbors house?  On the west side of the house to provide shade and keep cooler during the summer?  Something that hangs versus something that climbs?

-Matt

sustainable-sam:

Inspiration: Living Curtains

(Source: speakerforthetrees)

Cool apartment and compost bins/composting

I really like this apartment and the excellent format that the Re-nest.com webpage uses to show it (nice photo browsing and they include the plan view drawings).

  

I spent Saturday morning at my community garden’s spring work party turning over plant debris and compost from compost bins like these shown on Re-Nest.com (click on photo for more pics and the story).

The bins at my community garden have the same dimensions but have cedar on all sides and no top.  The hardware cloth (galvanized steel mesh) sides look like a good way to keep the compost pile oxygenated and to extend the life of the bins.  I do wonder if you might get your pitch fork tines occasionally caught in the cloth though.

After the party our bins were overflowing with green and dead weeds and veg remnants.  I think my fellow gardeners were skeptical about whether or not we could get everything to fit reasonably within the confines of the setup.  To get ‘er done, I basically worked from the right bin to the left (almost finished compost to totally unfinished plant debris).  Using a pitchfork, in front of the bins I made piles of varying debris sizes comprised of the newly added debris and the bin contents.  I tried to “knock off” the almost composted layers from the debris in the left and middle bin into the right one and removed or chopped up any bits that were woody or large.  In the left and middle bins I paid special attention to layering the green materials with brown ones and adding thin layers of the nearly completed compost throughout the layers.  In the process I diligently chopped and broke the materials with my machete. 

If you’re a “lazy” gardener like me and have some piles of garden refuse, if you just layer it in this manner, maintain a size/age gradient of material across the bins (new/large on the left, old/smaller on the right), and then give it some time, turning, and water (the latter two very occasionally if not optionally), a decent compost gets produced.  I think this lazy composting approach is very effective whether in ones own backyard or in a community garden where quality control (and continual attention) is hard to maintain (b/c lots of people are contributing to the pile and not too many actually maintain the pile).

—Matt

P.S.  Heck, you don’t even need the bins to successfully apply this method.  And I don’t mean to say this method is something I dreamt up on my own— just my synthesis of thoughts arising from reading about composting and my attempt to make it simple.  Chop/break, layer, have a range of debris sizes in each layer, keep it moist, turn occasionally, wait— that’s the recipe.

Edible Plant Sale Goodness

Today I made it to one of my favorite events of the year, the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale.  I arrived during the last two hours and was fortunate to be there when they announced 2-for-1 basil.  After acquiring some wonderful starts (young veggie plants) I decided to mosey down to some of the booths at the sale.  There I had a nice conversation with an employee from Hendrikus Organics (here are some links to their organic products and design work websites).  I mainly wanted to ask some questions about the man (Hendrikus) who has become a regular guest on my favorite (local) gardening show, “Gardening with Ciscoe.”  I’ll have to dedicate some post(s) to both of these guys for all the inspiration they give me but for now I’ll just leave it with a recommendation to check out Hendrikus’ photo gallery (on the design website).  The other booth I stopped at was that of a local nursery (within approximately an hour of Seattle) where I couldn’t resist purchasing a red twig dogwood (beautiful red twigs, duh) and eucalyptus tree (with gorgeous pale aqua-green elliptic leaves and red branches). 

Wikipedia (where I got this photo) describes Eucalyptus leaves:

on a mature Eucalyptus plant are commonly lanceolate, petiolate, apparently alternate and waxy or glossy green. In contrast, the leaves of seedlings are often opposite, sessile and glaucous. But there are many exceptions to this pattern.

I can see that I have a lot to learn about leaf morphology beyond the chart I posted yesterday.

Given that it was the last moments of the sale I deployed my typical “last minute of sale” strategy and successfully bargained for a little deal on the two items. 

Here’s what I came away with from the edible sale proper:

  • Lemon Veberenia
  • Cellery
  • Hops

and mostly early or cold tolerant varieties of:

  • Tomatoes (early, cherry)
  • Peppers (Hot-Jalapenos; Sweet ones)

lots of:

  • Basil (Italian Large Leaf; Italian Sweet; purple ones)

and some seed of:

  • daikon radish, pole beans, and chard.

It’s been a historically cool spring here in Seattle, a la La Nina (the cool wet counter-personality of El Nino), so later in the evening after I had long since been home, I remembered that I better bring my treasures inside for the cool night.  And because it’s cool still and will remain so for at least another month, I all of a sudden found new motivation to get my indoor veggie growing operation set back up.  I actually totally moved it into a new space that will allow for me to raise the height of the lights as my babies grow.  One of these days I’ll get supplies to build a simple row cover structure (a little green house).

We have some impending plumbing/electrical projects but a man has to have his priorities, right?  We actually made some good planning/layout progress (between my diversions of taking care of my green thumb addiction).  Speaking of “green thumb,” that’s actually the name of my personal tumblr (greenthumbmatt)… though most all of my green tendencies (and sharing about them) end up here on DIYnot.

—Matt