The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Compost pile, solarization, and beans

Compost pile of weeds

I often use garden weeds to hold down newspaper or cardboard kill mulches around berries or to lower weed pressure under large fruit trees. But the weeds were growing faster than I could use them in June, so this week I gathered up two days worth of weeds to make a compost pile.

The photo above shows the pile before I added a bucket of bokashi-food-scraps and another two wheelbarrow-loads of weeds on top. Next up --- daily urine deposits to start rotting down the relatively high-carbon compost pile. It sure was fun to mound up my weeds, so I might make another compost pile next week!


In other soil-related news, Mark had the bright idea of solarizing the last remaining weed patch within our core homestead. This area gets mowed maybe once a year, and in between it tends to grow up into blackberries and ragweed. My hard-working husband whacked the weeds to the ground and then we laid down a sheet of plastic to see if this technique can work its magic in an area with much higher weed pressure than we've tried it on previously.

Washing green beans

And now that you've seen the weediest parts of our core homestead, I'll end with a happier photo --- the summer's first green beans. Sauted with homegrown garlic and a bit of salt, they were delicious!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Now only if you had a greenhouse in need of new plastic, you would have a fair amount of gently used plastic ready for its second job ;)
Comment by Nita Sun Jun 28 13:41:33 2015
Nita --- Excellent point! I think I'm pretty much sold on the greenhouse, although I haven't figured out yet how to work a movable one into our complicated garden. Still pondering....
Comment by anna Sun Jun 28 14:43:13 2015

Hi Anna and Mark,

I will be interested in what you come up with. I have been thinking about the same problem.

Best solution so far. 3 2x4s whatever feet long. Two on the ground with holes partially through the long way with 10ft 3/4 conduit bent going up to the 3rd with holes partially through both sides the long way.

The holes staggered so that some conduits form triangles to help prevent back and forth motion.

Plastic laid over the whole and held down with cement blocks rather than stapled together as one mass.

With end caps with openings to provide ventilation without the need for real doors or roll up sides.

And most of all if the wind comes and carries the plastic away or otherwise dismantles it, there is no heavy structure to get carried away. If the outside plastic blows away, the conduit structure just falls apart in place.

Maybe you get the idea?

I haven't built it yet, but I now have the parts. Just gotta take the time and drill some holes.

I am looking foward to other's ideas.

Lots of creative people around this list :).


Comment by John Sun Jun 28 15:37:06 2015
Another possibility; my husband found the skeleton of a rounded carport-like structure (not sure what to call it) that a storm wrecked the vinyl sides of so the owner sold it cheap and we covered it with plastic. Great for extending the season.
Comment by Teresa Mon Jun 29 11:59:13 2015

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