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Second Load of Biosolids Applied - Perennial Garden Topdressing - February 2024

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Last week, I posted the details and photos of the first late-winter application of municipal biosolids in our garden and talked about how I was going to try to find some time to head to the mulch pit to get a few loads before gardening season heats up.  I applied that initial load to some areas that needed the soil amendment including the Spring Grove Ginkgos, the epimedium colony and my Hellebores.   I mentioned (in that post) that for every spot that I dumped a bucket of biosolids, I spotted 2x more spots that could use a top-dressing.  Not to mention the lawn, the parkway and the compost bins.   Over the weekend, I ran out and picked up another load.   About 8 five-gallon buckets filled up 2/3rds-of-the way.  And dumped and spread out around the backyard.   I added another partial-bucket under the Linden trees: And, right at the base of my bird feeder pole: At regular intervals along the front of the south border: Around the trunk of the south-side Northern Red Oak tree went a coup

Compost Bin Fire - Dry Material Burned in Late Winter - February 2024

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I was feeling pretty good about my prescribed burning of tiny piles of leaves and some perennial litter from last season.  I posted the details of it yesterday .  Over the weekend, I went out and did a little bit more burning.  I used my small hand rake to pull together a pile of (mostly) oak leaves - creating a little burn break from other leaf litter - and use my small propane torch to light-it-up.   But, I think I got a little too cocky.  Burning and burning and burning.  And feeling good about returning the carbon to the soil via little ash piles.  All the while...cleaning up the beds a bit.  I was puttering around the beds making little piles and burning them.  They light up, then expire on their own when they exhaust all the material.  A little smoldering for a minute or two, then the piles of ash go dark.  And leave behind some white, burned out material.   I found myself back by the compost bins, where I recently filled-them-up with a bunch of ornamental grass cut-downs that I

Late Winter Burn In Perennial Garden Beds - February 2024

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Here's something that I've never done:  burned parts of my garden beds.  Each Fall, I do a clean-up that includes mulching in A LOT of my leaves.  I also add a big number of mulched leaves to my compost bins.  And, I typically try to 'blow out' my beds into the lawn where I run them over with the mower.  I then...blow them 'back on' the beds.  A modified 'leave the leaves' that works for me .   Then there's the Oak trees.  They hold their leaves WELL past the time that I've called it quits with Fall clean-up.   So come late Winter, our beds are filled with leaves.   Over the past few years, I've tried using a weed propane torch to burn up some weeds.  In lieu of herbicides, the torch is supposed to be 'better' for the world that chemicals.   But, I also thought....maybe I could burn up some of the dried leaves laying around my beds.  And, it didn't take me long to learn that I certainly could.  Here's a photo showing the leave

Piling Excavated Dirt In Garden Beds For Berm - Smothered by Wood Chips - February 2024

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This past week saw the start of the excavation for my backyard wood-fired pizza oven .  After going back-and-forth with various versions of math...I settled on some dimensions.  The hole needs to be 90" wide and 98" deep.  That allows for a slab to be poured that is 78" wide and 86" deep.  12" each way to allow for framing, supports and what I'm calling 'wiggle room'.   I opted for the 'on top of the drywell' location ; which means that the excavation is going to be light in some parts (6 inches) and deeper in others (10-12 inches).   That means that I'm going to be removing A LOT of material.  Soil.  Clay.  Probably some rocks.   What do I do with it? What I'd *LIKE* to do with it is to either build a berm in our front yard .  Or...use it to build a waterfall for a backyard pond.   But, I'm not ready for the pond.  And, I'm too chicken to do the berm in front.   Will it look silly?  Will it look sloppy?  Will it look unfinis

Amending Compost Bins With Biosolids - February 2024

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Yesterday, I shared a round of photos showing the first (for this growing season) load of municipal biosolids that I added to our perennial garden beds as a topdressing .  The goal is to improve the soil and feed the trees and plants.   I also used these biosolids in a different spot:  as a compost bin amendment.   I've done this in the past - here's a post from March of 2023 - when I dumped some biosolids in as a sort-of accelerant/enhancement to my bins due to them being overloaded with 'browns'.  I thought the biosolids - full of Nitrogen - would help balance out the blend.   Right now, all three of our bins are F-U-L-L.  The clean-up that I did recently of all the ornamental grasses produced an enormous amount of material.  I posted some photos back a couple weeks .    For this round - I added a 5-gallon bucket (filled 2/3rds of the way) into my 'storage bin'.  The one with the "Feed Me" compost bin sign .    Below is a look at that mound of mater

Late Winter Biosolids Top Dressing Application In Perennial Garden - February 2024

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Late last Fall, I found some time to head over to the mulch pit to pick up a couple of loads (in 5 gallon buckets) of municipal biosolids and brought them home.  I dumped the biosolids out and scattered them across a number of the perennial beds in the front/back/side yards .  A top dressing of sorts.   And a dormant application of organic material with the goal of improving the soil conditions.  I also thought that by applying them in early Winter/late Fall...there would be ample time for them to 'age in place' during the dormant period.  With the return to the garden in the past few weeks to begin to prune back/remove old stems and lightly begin to clean up, I've noticed some areas where the naked soil is 'showing'.  What can fix that?  Mulch!  Oh...I guess that's true.  But, I also thought...biosolids could do the trick.  And...off I went to pick up a load.  Here, below, are a few spots where I spread the material out.  I think I have 8 five-gallon buckets. 

DIY Wood-Fired Pizza Oven Construction - Initial Excavation For Foundation - February 2024

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This past weekend, I posted a list of 'early potential priorities' out in the yard and garden for the upcoming 2024 growing season .  That list featured a number of projects/ideas/areas that *could* be something that I'm going to prioritize in 2024.  But, it also featured one item that has certainty when it comes to being a priority:  the backyard wood-fired pizza oven construction. The location/site of the oven has been an open question for me ever since we moved in back in 2017.  I wrote about a couple of final options in the backyard in early January where I narrowed it down to two locations :  built into the berm/closer to the patio vs. down on the drywell, lower-elevation. With the run of warmer temperatures this week, I got out one night after work and just got busy:  digging the foundation.   I went with the drywell location.  Further from the house, but anchoring a secondary, lower-tiered patio.  Below is a look at the site - annotated to show the outline of the fou