Over the past few weeks, we have had some major doses of snow and wintry weather in the Northeast. Feeling frustrated, I went to Trader Joes’ and picked up some spring blooms. I also trimmed some budding Forsythia branches from a bush in my yard to create this cheery spring bouquet. Spring flowers always brighten my day, no matter how gloomy it is outside. I shared how I created this bouquet and a few others from the same stems over on HGTV Gardens this week.
One of the favorite things that my kids like to do is pick the vegetables and fruit growing in the gardens. Even though we had done a thorough harvest a couple days prior, they could not help but want to be involved. I find that children are more likely to eat things that they have nurtured and watched grow. How could I possibly say no? So, out we went.
We pulled a bunch of beautiful onions. The onions gave way from the soil very easily. Even my five year old had no problem pulling them. We placed them on some newspaper to dry out a bit before we use them. Then the kids went on the ultimate scavenger hunt to find any remaining cherry tomatoes. They did have some success.
When we went out to pick, I noticed that my daughter was toting the egg collecting basket from the chickens. She asked me what kinds of eggs it could hold. I told her lots of different kinds. She filled it with eggplants.
With all the onions, eggplants and tomatoes that we have picked the last few days, I think that we are going to have to make some Ratatouille. Last night, we had tomato pie. It was delicious!
What are you picking and cooking from your gardens this week?
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest
Two years ago, I was enlisted as the Project Coordinator for a new school yard garden project. It was the first of its kind on school property and was started on a shoestring budget. One way that we kept cost down was to build our own raised beds. After scouring various gardening magazines and internet sites, I combined much of what I saw to form simple and easy gardening beds. This project requires beginning woodworking skills. Alone, it took me a just a morning to complete, including the time spent at Home Depot purchasing the supplies.
I have been looking for beautiful ways for the past year on how to “blend” my composting bin into the garden setting without it looking like an ugly eyesore. I think the UK is much more ahead of us, with their thinking and I have discovered these gorgeous composting bins designed to look like beehives. I love the ones like in the picture above featured on grow4it.
The design is incredibly unique. Opening at the bottom, an individual would continue to stack another addition to the composter once it is full. Each level is entirely removable including the lid. However, the only downfall was that through my searches high and low, I never did locate any plans online or any places in the US where I could order one.
My search efforts were exhausting! Then, just as I was about to give up, I found an obscure website that mentioned there were plans inside of a book that was no longer published and out of print. I just had to get my hands on that book. Unbelievably, it was very easy to find in Amazon’s used books. Within days, a copy of Geoff Hamilton’s Cottage Gardens was in my hands!
Sure, enough, there on pages 67 and 68 were the simple plans. Today, I am going to share them with you. If you don’t already compost your shavings, kitchen scraps and chicken manure, you no longer have any excuses. These beauties make it easy to provide your garden with black gold.
Beehive Composter Instructions
Please note that these measurements are from the UK and converted from millimeters to inches. You may need to improvise at the hardware store. Also, these directions have been converted from a sketch. They may need some tinkering and adjustments.
drill-recommend pre-drilling your holes
paint-color of your choice
26″ long Feather edged fencing~ Quantity 7
wood screws and nails
4 metal angle brackets
4 metal corner brackets
26″ long hardwood moulding-for top of lid roof~ Quantity 1
1″x1″ timber- cut to 22 1/2″ long~Quantity 2
2″x1″ timber-cut to 22 1/2″ long~Quantity 3
4 1/2″ tall x1″wide timber 26″ long cut into piece as shown below~Quantity 2
The sides are angled upward
9″x1″ timber cut to top measuring across 20″/bottom measuring across 22″ with angled sides~Quantity 10
9″x1″ timber cut to top measuring across 22″/bottom measuring across 24″ with angled sides~Quantity 10
2″x2″ blocks for corners 7″ long ~Quantity 20
Cut all of your pieces out first.
Screw one of the 1″x1″ timber pieces to the bottom of the 2″x1″ timber piece. Repeat with other two pieces. (see below)
Stand the two 26″ side pieces parallel to each other and place the 2″x1″/1″x1″ piece that you just created in step one between the two sides. The 1″x1″ portion should be closest to the ground leaving a “ledge” above it. This should look like a square. Screw together one side.
Place the remaining 22 1/2″ piece of timber between the lid’s apex and screw that in using four corner brackets, one on each side.
Complete the square by screwing together the last side. Then flip it over and for extra strength, screw a metal angle bracket into each corner.
Next adhere the feather edged fencing starting at the base of the lid on each side and work your way up. Top the roof off with the hardwood moulding.
Take two 20″x22″ pieces and two 22″x24″ pieces. These will be assembled to make a square. The longer pieces will form the front and back and the two shorter pieces will become the sides.
Place one of the 2″x2″x7″ wooden pieces perpendicular in the corner. Keeping this piece flush with the top while leaving a 2″ gap at the bottom of the corner, screw 4 screws into the 2″x2″ piece. Repeat all the way around until you have a square.
Repeat this process until you have created 5 total squares. In the very bottom square, create an access panel, similar to the one in the photo below. This is to access the finished compost.
Stack the remaining four bases upon each other and top with the lid.
I suggest that you make two. These are too darling to stand alone. I have this on my summer to-do list! Are you going to add it to yours?