Sunday, March 22, 2009

What is this?



An awesome playhouse for the kids? An office? A mother-in-law apartment?

Nope. It's a chicken coop.

I found it at diggingfood.com, a Seattle-based blog about growing your own food, cooking with it, and generally remembering that your plot of land in the city can be put to good use. She's one of the featured home-gardeners in this month's Sunset magazine.

I have been obsessed with gardening lately. Haven't, uh, done much, but I am trying to get my act together. I was delighted to learn that my mint and chives returned after a weird winter. I just bought a few kinds of lettuce, some peas, and more mint. I recently sat on a a plane to NYC and made use of the 5 1/2 hour flight to read THIS and Vegetable Gardening Simple Steps To Success
and made a list of what I want to plant and when.

I have a lot to do in addition to this. I bought 2 cone compost bins from a co-worker and now I need to figure out how to actually install them (I need to bury part of it in the ground). I have been reading thecompostbin.com, too. We have a lot of food waste (as most people do) which is something I am trying to figure out and reduce, and then also just make better use of the scraps. I wish I could say all of this is motivated by my inner hippie, but honestly, I just hate how quickly the trash piles up at our house and I hate lugging bags of compost to the backyard.


To help with this new composting program, yesterday I parked THIS in the new kitchen. I just need to remember to actually use it. Tossing eggs and coffee grounds into the garbage will be quite a habit to break, I am afraid.

Is anyone gardening yet? Planted anything yet? Growing anything yet? Are any of you going to grow anything for the first time this year? I would like to hear about it. Oh, and send good garden blogs my way, please.

46 comments:

Kristen said...

We just planted some things last Friday. We planted tomatoes, as usual, but my 5 year old wanted to plant carrots and sunflowers, so we did - those are both new to me, so we will see how it turned out. I was thinking of getting one or two of those rain water barrel - the ones you connect to the downspouts. Of course we've had hardly any rain, so they wouldn't do much good. Maybe by next winter I'll get them hooked up. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hey Decorno, I live in Seattle and my snow peas, arugula and spinach are up and growing. I learned a few years ago to just try and plant mega-early and see what happens. Worst case scenario you plant again later. Best case scenario the earliest snowpeas in town!

Lolo said...

Oh, this is something I'm actually pretty good at, the gardening.

http://heirloomgardener.blogspot.com/
http://ewainthegarden.blogspot.com/
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/
are the garden blogs that I haunt for how to tips and pretty pics but so far, I haven't found any real garden design blogs.

Lilacs, hydrangeas, viburnums, clematis, azaleas and wisteria are the backbones of my garden but I've become an adopter of the orphans on the clearance shelves. Those have given me some of my best plants but it takes patience.

That's my excuse for procrastination these days. "I'm not being lazy, I'm PATIENT so fuck aaaawff." And really, I need to be more lazy because I did a mess of transplanting and cleaning up last week, just in time for a three night freeze.

Rachel said...

We just planted/started a bunch of seeds in that little plastic greenhouse thing-y this weekend - we planted basil, green beans, jalepenos, cilantro, corn (my husband's idea), okra, and bell peppers. We're also going to plant some tomato plants next weekend - we've found that we have better luck buying the plants for them rather than starting them from seed.
Last year the okra, the jalepenos, and the peppers did well. The rest are new to us - but I imagine that the herbs will do well.

Oh, and I can't believe you bought more mint!!! Down here it grows like nobody's business, and will take over an entire bed! It's such a great and fast grower. I'm secretly hoping that the basil is somewhat like that because fresh basil is the best!

Good luck with this, and with the bathroom!

Lolo said...

Oh, and one more indispensable site is Gardenrant.com. Warning though, they hate lawns like I hate crocs.

JJ said...

please please please get chickens! Imagine how much Rickey will love them! And you can force The Kid to collect the eggs and then drive them to his Aunt JJ's house.

christy said...

I started small container veggie pots & a compost bin last month. So far, I have about a 1/2 doz strawberries (near ripe), 3 small cherry tomatoes (more buds coming), rosemary, mint, Italian parsley, basil, a few squash & red pepper buds & about 30 small Meyer lemons. Plan to build some raised beds to add more room, but this is a good start.

Susan said...

A lot of Seattle's garden nursery's have classes on the weekends - design classes, planting classes, etc. Seattle Tilth also offers a range of classes.

mamacita said...

Your local newspaper probably has the best group of gardening blogs for your area. I'd tell you about my garden, but we're in completely different zones.

I am having some luck with the approach Anon 8:41 suggested: I planted seeds in early February and kept them inside during the cold/ outside when it was sunny. When March rolled around, I kept a few seedlings that were looking good, but replaced the ones that had never sprouted with some healthy-looking ones from the nursery.

Also, I really love Square Foot Gardening, though I'd be lying if I said I'd read the whole book. It's a good way to get started without being overwhelmed.

Decorina said...

That is a pretty overdone coop I think. I want chickens myself, but their home won't be better than mine.

Gardenrant.com is my favorite garden blog. I hate lawns, too. I'm waiting to plant - too much cold weather at this altitude to plant outside until first of May. I'll try to start seeds indoors.

compulsively compiled said...

I'm in love with my garden, it's bad. I make my family crazy talking about the planning but the kids really do love to work it with me and see how everything grows. Not to mention benefiting from the actual product of the garden.

Our garden has gotten bigger and bigger every year. We started out with containers on the back deck but it was way too hot(Central Valley, Ca.) so there wasn't much production. The next year we put it way in the back behind the house and it did much better. This year I've convinced my husband that I'll save him the time of mowing the back lawn by tearing it out, putting in raised beds and planting more veggies. Surprisingly, he's agreed.

We plan to plant more of what we have in the past; lots of tomatoes, squash, artichokes, beans, eggplant, hot peppers and bells. Besides adding to the space, I'm excited about gardening year round and trying composting which I've been to lazy to do in the past.

Anonymous said...

Put that mint in a pot. It will take over.

Compost needs to be turned and be in a 3'x3' container to properly heat up. If you don't have a spot in your garden for such large containers, Seattle has a green waste recycle program. http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Yard/index.asp

Soil temperature is important. Wait until May for tomatoes, squash,etc.

Master Gardeners are a great source of information. http://gardening.wsu.edu/

Blogs based in Western WA:
http://www.gardenrant.com/
http://ft2garden.powweb.com/sinfonian/
http://www.northcoastgardening.com/
http://www.modernvictorygarden.com/apps/blog/
http://www.valeaston.com/

Anonymous said...

Whoops, GardenRant isn't in Western WA. It is a great blog though.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and put the coffe grounds in your comost but don' through eggs or egg shells in there, it will attract rodents and other pests.

raine turner said...

egg shells are fine for composting- just not the eggs.
But, if you want some help with slugs- keep your coffee grounds and eggshells seperate and use those around the plants that are prone to slugs- good for the soil and helps reduce the pesty slugs!

Samantha said...

Well, first of all, please check out
http://heavypetal.ca/
Such a fun, inspiring garden blog (how can you resist the tag line "Gardening from a west coast, urban, organic perspective"? You can't, right?). And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that April is our (Sunset magazine's) garden issue with TONS of great stuff (lots o' chickens). And, of course, there is the fabulous One Block Diet blog on the Sunset website (just nominated for a James Beard Award).
http://oneblockdiet.sunset.com/
I sound like a shill, but I'm not. Take a look, you'll like it. Happy growing.

ashley morgan said...

We've grown herbs for a few years, and had been planning a full veg garden, but the Sunset mag really lit a fire under me. So, we just yesterday started prepping our new vegetable garden by amending the soil and starting to build a small fence around it. We also built a compost bin out of pallets. I'll be doing a blog post about it soon, and updating on the (hopeful) progress.

Hanako66 said...

Please keep us updated on your composting adventures...I am thinking about starting and am super interested in it.

As for what I am planting...I live in the desert that is southern california, so we would not be able to grow the same things.

*moggit girls said...

I really loved the idea of a composter in my backyard until my fil told me that his attracts quite the large amount of snakes to it...
:(
We still have snow on the ground so nothin' is doin'...
:(

Joy (and Janet)

Anonymous said...

My garden porn is www.awaytogarden.com

The pictures are vivid and there's a 15% chance I'll follow through on some of her to-do lists each month. Usually it's, 'Aw fuck! I should have done that! Too late. Hah!'

Because she hails from Martha Cult, she features a trench for composting.

red.door.read said...

Lucky chicks.

Melissa said...

when you have the garden organised
go a step further (provided you have a garden of course)

www.rentachook.com.au

Maybe you guys have the equivalent
over there.

Erin {PlinkPlink} said...

Oohh! I am super-excited about gardening too:

http://www.plinkplink.com/home/2009/3/20/grow-your-vegetables-grow-your-savings.html

It seems to be an especially trendy thing to do this year. Did you know that Michelle Obama is planting a vegetable garden at the White House - the first since Eleanor Roosevelt planted her "Victory Garden" during WWII.

Keep us posted on how your garden grows!

when pigs fly said...

It started 25 years ago when I asked a co-worker about a border idea that I could add onto that did not look ad hoc. She said,"rocks." And there you have it. Over the years I have terraced my entire 1/3 acre lot. This year: no grass. Regarding composting. It is breast milk for plants in every way. It is one of my many obsessions. I bought the stainless composter you did. Too small. I empty the coffee stuff into a 5 gallon bucket in the garage and empty grounds and left over coffee where I need to support acid loving plants. The other stuff I put in gallon freezer bags and freeze until full and bury them in the garden. Works for me. If you wonder why to compost. Think about those wonderful people with palates so discreet they can discern the exact locale where the grapes in their wine are grown. What your plants eat makes your veggies taste better. Good luck with your garden. Think globally. Eat your backyard.

Anonymous said...

I'm in new england, so it's pretty cold and inhospitable to plants still, but I planted my spinach, lettuce and sugar snap peas last week. we'll see, i've never done it this early before. I'd like to plant some fruit trees. Currently I have a 3-foot tall peach tree, and two little blueberry bushes. I can't wait to get out in the garden!

Robin said...

I live in a downtown apartment and so don't have a garden (but I do put a few pots of annuals, parsley and try to grow tomatoes on my wee balcony every summer). But I used to have a big garden at my old house in the country, and we had a great compost pile. And I didn't have anything near as cute as your bucket for my scraps, I used an old milk jug. But you will be surprised at how quickly it becomes a habit once you start, especially when you notice that your kitchen garbage is now no where near as (a) full or (b) smelly....

Anthony said...

Wow, I love that compost crock. Snazzy! Keep visiting TheCompostBin.com I heard that guy really knows his compost. :)

Anonymous said...

elaine

hope you LOVE mint. lots of it!

did anyone tell you it is very invasive and near impossible to control?

Decorno said...

Mamacita (you old bag), I love Square Foot Gardening, too. Although, it's like 200 pages when it only needs to be 30, huh?

Decorno said...

Yep. I did hear mint is invasive. That's why I keep it in pots.

I have also heard that if you want to plant it in the ground, just plant the whole pot to reign it in.

Anonymous said...

I have become a garden addict over the last two summers and now cant throw away organic waste without a twinge.

I am lusting after a 'tumber' composter but have to make do with a basic black plastic one. Tip to help activate your compost - a pee now and again is good, just dont get caught by the neighbours!

I also have a wormery which is fasinating and a great source of worm tea (another composting activator) and nutrient rich compost for pot plants.

How much flack am I gonna cop for admitting to peeing on my compost heap?

room-for-inspiration said...

We moved a few months ago from Amsterdam city centre to the most rural place I have ever lived in, Lasne, Belgium. We love the garden, because now we have a place to send the dog to when she is eating our furniture, but we need to get hands on with the digging and fertilizing because at the end of April you can actually start planting (in Europe that is, it's an old tradition, at least that's what I have heard, to start April 30th).
Cool blog: www.yougrowgirl.com, famous for the "upside down tomatoes" (tried it: lovely!)

I really want to start a herbal garden, but the boyfriend is somehow obsessed with planting potatoes??

hello gorgeous said...

I'm so jealous.

Our back yard is much too shady for a garden. We long for one.

Kwana said...

Those are some nice chicken diggs. I have not started gardening yet. It's still too cold here. 27 in the morning today. I'm such a bad gardener. It's all luck with me. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Minnesota and planted spinach and lettuce in the ground last weekend.

Got a little over anxious bringing out my Rosemary bush on a warm day last week. I forgot it that night and the temp dipped to 20 something- oops!

Planted some heirloom tomato seeds in trays that I took from super-market heirlooms last summer. I followed directions from Martha. We'll see...

Raspberries, rhubarb and strawberries run amok here. Tomatoes haven't been great the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

I worked with our City in 2003 to establish a curb-side "Organics" pick up. We now separate our garbage into organic waste (almost everything) and, plastics and metals. It even includes vacuum cleaner bags and dog hair. We still have traditional recycling too, for non food soiled paper, cans and bottles.

Our actual garbage is very minimal for a family of four. About one tall kitchen bag a week.

You can learn about our program here...

http://wayzata.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={7E4B97A1-9C08-4318-8447-038DC8AA6C8A}

Jules said...

Funny, I just posted about my "garden" on my blog. I have hundreds upon hundreds of yards of flower beds that are sitting empty because I have absolutely no idea what to do with them. I did plant a little something this weekend, but that was mainly to keep the boys and dogs out of the beds. They were kicking up dust constantly! So far, it hasn't worked, but the area still looks infinitely better (even if a little bare since the plants are young).

Anonymous said...

I potted a bunch of amaryllis over the weekend.

This morning I came out to find half of them pulled out of the pots and munched on by those fucking ungrateful racketycoons.

I've been tossing out fast food, leftovers, and birdseed all winter and this is how those bastards repay me.

I'm thinking of restricting my offerings to oatmeal and fresh vegetables. No junk food for assholes!

csd said...

We don't share a hardiness zone but maybe this can help: we have a collected story trove of stuff than can help new or new-ish gardeners. Here it is: www.chicagotribune.com/gardening101

thanks for blogging, you're one of my faves!
C.

Petra Voegtle said...

Hi Decorno,
I don't own a garden myself - only a balcony that is stuffed with all my plants from inside during the warmer months.
But maybe my "Blooms and Blossoms" blog on http://vyala.blogspot.com may offer you some inspirations regarding colours and stuff to love in the garden. Most of these photos were shot in neighbours's gardens during the last 3 years or so and I am continuing to sneek peak into all those beauties.

Good luck and greetings from Munich, Petra

mamacita said...

"peeing on my compost heap" FTW.

Max said...

Those chickens have got it made! I wouldn't mind living in there! Also, My cilantro and lettuce are doing very well in my windowsill garden. I'm ready to transplant them outside, but it keeps snowing here in Seattle!

Pam Kersting said...

Gardening! It's America's favorite pastime, isn't it? I have a garden design blog -- please stop by at http://www.egardens.blogspot.com. It's called GardenDesigns+more. I'm on the fence about lawns - kids love 'em. I love grass too, just not all over the entire front yard. Why do Americans think that all yards must be flat boring and big? As far as compost goes, all I know is that, if you have boys, let them pee in it! Yes, there is nothing better for the compost (and plants) than nitrogen! Cheers and happy gardening!

s. said...

One large compost bin and two "can o worms"

http://www.abundantearth.com/store/canoworms.html

Something I love about worm composting is that you can put in all your old newspapers, most junk mail/ envelopes, empty toilet paper rolls, etc. Recycling this stuff is fine but it still requires lots of energy and sadly not enough people are buying post-consumer recycled paper goods.

Worms are a better option for both the planet at large as well as for your garden; their poop is incredibly nutrient-rich and also has a different fungus/bacteria ration to "regular" compost so gives your plants wonderful boosts in a different, complementary way.

Sara | Stinkerpants! said...

I admittedly suck ass at gardening. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am exceedingly lazy and have no followthrough. I couldn't even get my lawn to live.

That being said, I am a dirty hippy. We live in the San Francisco bay area and have that exact same composter.

And, we also have backyard chickens. We just started a couple of months ago, and we're even raising chicks. If you're interested, I talk about it a lot on my blog:

http://stinkerpants.com/blog/category/backyard-chickens/

Anonymous said...

have the same composting bucket! love it....and love notion of composting BUT, man if I forget to empty that thing...DISGUSTING! Hope you have the stamina to keep up with the scraps, emptying, rotating pile/spinning bin, etc. thinking of trying a worm bin?