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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Direct Soil Incorporation

I am unable to tend to my compost daily, so like I said in a previous post, I keep my organic compostables (all plant material except for human hair and fingernails) in covered catchall jars, then empty them once a week. For my purposes, the easiest and most hassle-free composting method is direct soil incorporation. I am also not in a hurry to plant in this part of the garden, so a slow rehab is really what I'm planning.

Here's what I do:

I dig a hole about 8 inches deep, empty all the compostables into it, then, completely cover the hole with the soil I dug out. I do not water any of the covered compost holes (I started in sunny April) but the official rainy season has started (It's June now) and they've been getting a steady supply of rainwater since then.  The grass nearby is growing rapidly and I am pleasantly surprised. (Note to self: must mow the grass soon.) I was expecting results to come in next year (our soil is really in dire need of rehabilitation), but this early, I'm seeing signs of improvement. We even have a new visitor to our garden. Is s/he here to stay?

If it's a sunny day, as soon as I open the catchalls, flies are ready to get at the waste. I empty the containers as fast as I can, then immediately cover up the waste with the soil. Then the flies have a party by the containers unless they are rinsed immediately. On a rainy day, it's much easier to dig the pit and not have any of the flies bother me. Ooh, I so love the rain! And gardening in the rain!

And that's it! I let the items just decompose on their own.

Since there isn't much oxygen involved, it may seem like the nutrients will be considerably less, than if I do basket-open-air composting or turn composting. However, this is the most convenient method for me given my schedule, and the fact that I don't want to unnaturally control the flies.

Anyone else out there doing direct soil incorporation? Anyone noticing dramatic changes in your soil/garden?

How about the basket-open air composters/turn composters/vermicomposters? Any violent reactions? :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Guess who decided to stop by?

Aside from the pesky ants, guess who dropped by the garden?

A bayawak! Woohoo!!! (For my readers abroad, that's a kind of endangered monitor lizard) I'm really excited about this development because I'm assuming that the lizard finds the garden a great place to hang out in. I feel even more convinced that composting the slow way (direct soil incorporation) is the way to go. I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to do something to speed up the fertilization process, but I opted to go slow and natural. I love that our endangered friends are appreciating it!

By the way, I'm a little scared to come up close to the bayawak. This gal even had her picture taken by one. Sorry, but not for me, thank you. Maybe I'll be able to take a picture of it one day. 

I was a little concerned that Mr. Lonely (the free-range rooster) was going to have a hard time dealing with the lizard, but he's a bit of a bully and will probably make his presence felt. I am glad we don't have any chicks because bayawak like to prey on the hapless little things.

Trivia: When I did my immersion in Pampanga for college, my host family (the dad was Aeta/"kulot", the mom was from the lowlands/"unat") wanted to feed me bayawak. I'm super glad they weren't able to catch any. I didn't realize they were endangered until now. :(  Click here  for an article on the bayawak recently appearing on the endangered species list.

An epiphany: I don't want to get rid of the ants anymore. I just want to keep them away from the vegetables.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ants on the ground, ants on the ground...

I've noticed a lot of ants among the plants lately - some of them are attacking my sweet basil :(.

I want to keep them away, but only using organic pesticides.

Which organic pesticides (homemade or store-bought) have you used for your plants?
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