Friday, July 17, 2009

Demonstration Garden meeting

Today, Eric and I walked over to the Demonstration Garden at Denver Park for a meeting with some of the volunteers who maintain it. Our topic of discussion for the day was composting: the park has agreed to save a portion of their grass and tree clippings for composting, and we will start saving the weeds, leaves and stems of anything we harvest from the garden. We talked about potential designs for a composting bin and where would be the best place to put it.

There are many different designs and methods for different types of composting, but the most common factors that differentiate between bins are size, number of compartments and materials used. For my personal backyard garden, which is a modestly sized 4x7 ft. plot, I use a circular wire-mesh design, as illustrated in this bin-building tutorial. Because the demonstration garden is small but big enough to require a bigger bin than the one I use at home, we decided to go with a three-compartment design, which is illustrated at the bottom of the page that I linked to above. The purpose for the multiple compartments is to separate the organic matter that is in different stages of decomposition. For example, you wouldn't want to add freshly pulled weeds to compost that is already a few months old and well-decomposed; it's best to keep a few piles of each. We designated a spot for it, and we are aiming to have it built and ready in the coming weeks.

The rest of the time was spent weeding, admiring the fast-blooming plants, and sampling some of the ready-to-pick herbs and vegetables. The green beans, turnips and basil were all ready to pick, and we also took some green onions, parsley and dill.

Eric is also in the process of organizing a composting program here at Wilmington College, and Sodexho, our food supplier, has agreed to partner with us on that initiative. More updates on both projects to come...

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