ONE MILLION DAISIESBy Marilyn Kendall
Illustrations by Heather Graham Again, I hope you enjoy! Stop back later when we get our Bird Attracting Series started! Or make it easy on yourself and sign up for our newsletter! 🙂
million daisies have invaded my mother’s garden. They grow rampant among the phlox and delphinium, the lilies and the roses. She doesn’t want their scraggly disorder in her picture-perfect beds, but she cannot stand to kill anything, especially a flower. In her stronger—or weaker—moments she attempts to eradicate them, but they always find their way back into her garden. Into her heart.
On this early morning of my summer visit, while my mother sleeps, I am deadheading these daisies—a million times a million of them, it seems—and thinking of her. At 86, she is still sturdy, and stalwart—and stubborn, at times. She wants the flowers but not their mess, so I must tread carefully in her beloved garden.
I hate this job. Capture a dead bloom, separate it from its confederates, and follow its stem down several inches (so the stub won’t show), taking care not to cut too many leaves and deplete the plant. Then snip, toss the stem into the refuse bin, find another, and start again. I mustn’t falter in my attention and sacrifice a live bloom.
Snip, snip, snip. I must have cut ten thousand at least. I look the length of the garden at the multitudes remaining. After half an hour, the beauty of the early morning no longer compensates for my aching back. I stand. She doesn’t need all these, I think. Why not just pull half out by their roots? Or cut the old heads by the fistful, rather than singly? No one would notice from a few feet away.
But I know I won’t, and I wonder why. My mother doesn’t expect this fussiness. Somehow, without reason, I expect it for her, knowing how she loves every petal and leaf. Just as she loved her children, I suddenly reflect: perfectly, proudly, with attention to every detail, every emotion, every need. In spite of our flaws. I am struck by the thought: If my mother didn’t love daisies, would she have loved me so well?
Back on my knees, I recall the lunches packed, the clothes sewed, the hair curled, the ruffles ironed. I think of the eons of advice, of comfort, of concern. I snip and I count. Snip and count. The morning passes.
A million daisies may not be enough.
Anyone can make their own compost! It’s not hard and in fact it’s downright simple. I started making my own compost right after we moved into our house and now I actually have 3 compost piles. This works nicely for me. I have a “new” pile that is relatively fresh, in that it’s far from being ready to be used. My oldest pile is very rich and full of wonderful nutrients, my own “black gold”. And my middle pile is close to being ready to use. I do the 3 pile system because I am constantly adding and subtracting from my piles. It’s just my system and once you have been making your own for a while you will develop your own system.
So how do I make my own compost?
There are 3 simple key ingredients to making your own compost:
Green material is high in nitrogen. To achieve this you may use kitchen scraps like coffee grounds (it’s ok to toss the coffee filter in too) any peelings, from potatoes, vegetables, fruit cores, and scraps and even eggshells are wonderful. Any type of kitchen waste that is not meat or that contains fat can be composted. Any manure from farm animals. (DO NOT USE dog and cat waste), grass clippings, leaves, and weeds you have pulled are also green materials.
Brown material is high in carbon. Things like newspaper, paper, sawdust, branches and twigs, and straw are considered brown material.
Water or sufficient moisture is the final key ingredient in your compost pile. Without moisture, your pile will take months to breakdown, and if left dry, will not break down at all. BUT if your pile is too wet, it will smell and become slimy as the ratio of bad bacteria outweighs the good. You want it to remain damp, but not soaking wet. If you do not get enough rainfall you can dump a bucket over it, or spray it down with a garden hose. About once a week should keep things moving along.
You will know that your compost pile is right if it consistently becomes hot in the middle. This is important to sterilize your compost and kill any of the weed seeds. It will also kill any bad organisms or bacteria that may be in your pile. The heat is your proof that the ratio is working nicely for your compost pile. But don’t fret over it. It takes a while to get comfortable with your mixture and your ratios may go up and down a bit before you get the hang of it. It’s ok!
Perhaps I should have added one more important ingredient. But it’s not an ingredient at all. You should turn your pile occasionally to keep things mixed up. It’s certainly not something you “have” to do, but it helps to move things along more quickly. If you are like me, you will never have enough usable compost so stirring things up helps create more compost more quickly. If your pile heats up, gets sufficient moisture, and gets turned regularly, you should have dark, wonderful compost in about one to two month’s time. Congrats! You have made your very own “black gold”.
Do I need a compost bin?
I personally don’t use a compost “bin” but a lot of people prefer to use one. I have tried a couple but because I make so much compost and use so much, the bins just aren’t large enough for me. But there are many on the market today and they come in all sizes. I recommend doing a little research before you purchase one. Several questions you might want to ask yourself are:
My method is the “pile” method or as the case may be 3 piles. But I live in the country and have acres to play with so storage, convenience and smell etc..are not an issue for me. I keep a garbage can on my back porch so that I can dump my scraps into it regularly without having to walk out back (sometimes thru the snow) to throw out an eggshell. I have used the “on the counter compost buckets” and other items over the years but I have found this works best for me. Once a week, or so I drag my garbage can out to the compost pile, dump it, hose it out and hose down the pile while I am there. I also usually dump newspaper and some other types of paper in the garbage can first because it makes a nice liner in the bottom and therefore cleaning it out easier. Easy Peasy!! I am all about EZ! 😉
Can I build my own compost bin?
Of course you can. There are tons of plans and ideas available and also DIY kits. Again, I recommend asking yourself the above questions before you decide on which “bin” you wish to purchase or build. You can also check out some of our recommendations on our compost bin page!
Compost can be purchased at any garden supply center, home center and even discounts stores, but it is very easy (and much less expensive) to make your own. Not to mention the recycle factor! So whether your garden is indoors or out, compost will help all your plants grow better.
Welcome! My whole goal in starting Dee’s Garden and Great Garden gifts is to help you with hints and tips to save you time and money in your garden! Anything I can do to make your gardening easier and most importantly “FUN” is my greatest wish! I know that sometimes Gardening is a challenge and also picking out that perfect gift for the gardener in your life can be intimidating as well!
I really wish to have an “interactive site” and I will greatly appreciate your input! I have been gardening my whole life and I have also joined the Master Gardeners! Please feel free to contact me with any questions and concerns…I am here to help you!
My sister came to stay for a couple weeks during the summer and absolutely saved me hundreds and hundreds of hours of weeding. She taught me the neatest trick in gardening I have learned in all the years I have been gardening…..
CARDBOARD—-cardboard is my savior! (–along with Dee)…. She spent a couple weeks helping me and ALL summer long I had minimal weeds and accomplished so much more, not to mention the hours of enjoyment. It was nice to take a book out to the deck and enjoy the fresh air without looking at or fretting over weeds. It’s been a never ending job, my weeds…and as I am getting older I seriously thought I would have to reduce the size of my gardens. I just couldn’t seem to keep up anymore. SO she really really did save me and my gardens too! So what is the secret? Here is what we did:
This serves several purposes:
I also started this in my vegetable garden last fall. I have always wanted to do a no-till garden but didn’t think this was going to be possible to do for some time in the future. In my vegetable garden, I topped the cardboard with leaves and such from the fall. Read more about a no-till garden here.
**NOTE: You may also use newspaper if you layer it quite thick, using 12 to 15 or more pages or shredded newspaper and layer it thick. I don’t care for the newspaper, myself. It’s more work and messier and also tends to pop thru the mulch in several places. I DO however like to use the shredded newspaper in the vegetable garden on top of the boxes…I AM all about recycling!
My sister mentioned she would love to be a BEE KEEPER. Well who wouldn’t, I said…. Well actually ME, for one! I am deathly allergic to bees so I have no need to keep them or call them or attract them. But the more I contemplated this, the more I realized some of you may want to become Bee Keepers and it sent me on a path to research what would be involved in keeping bees and creating your own honey. It does sound like a really cool hobby and I do love Honey after all, and I especially believe that LOCAL HONEY is the best way to go. Did you know that there is research proving local honey can help cure allergies?
Part 1 of 3. Famous gardener Ruth Stout shows her coveted secrets, and interesting stories of her life. Having never followed society’s conformity, her gardening techniques are likewise very unique. Quite possibly the simplest way to garden, with no digging, composting, tilling or fertilizing. A video both entertaining and informative.
Duration : 0:9:30
Mulch King mulch blower and leaf vacuum on a trailer. Manufactured by King Machine & Tool Co., Massillon, Ohio. kmtco.com
Duration : 0:4:27
March – Planting Cauliflower, Cabbage and Potatoes in No-till Beds. Includes cleaning bed, making holes, fertilizing, adding micorizzal fungi to potatoes, mulching and watering. The tone of this video seems to have the kind of tone that i like to have inside while gardening. Peaceful and open. One of many videos that will follow the gardening season chronologically in Kansas City. We hope that people can follow along and work in their own gardens.
Duration : 0:8:5
Ummm i did’t find a video of this song so i decided to make one. =)
Duration : 0:2:13
In a new series of video we discuss and will show methods of gardening “when it counts.” The first 3 short videos detail some of the pitfalls and perils to the common survival/preparedness thinking of “when my storage food runs out I’ll just grow a garden.” Intermixed throughout the first three videos are also invaluable tips on gardening and food production for the homestead, survival retreat or backyard in suburbia. The first step in planning to truly grow your own food is to recognize the factors working AGAINST you, so you can plan accordingly. If your interested in being able to feed yourself from your own labor either now or after an economic collapse, peak oil, etc. then you should view these video.
Prepare, preparedness, survival, survivalist, peak oil, economic collapse, war, terrorism
Survival Gardening Basics Part 1
Duration : 0:8:56