New "Easy Roll" Worm Bin!

New ‘stationary’ Easy Roll Worm Bin

I’ve had a very good response with the Easy Roll worm bin that I have plans available for.  However, there was a need because of folks with limited space, to design a ‘roll in place’ stationary composter. After much experimentation, I came up with a very affordable and easy to build design which only requires some additional inexpensive parts and a little more labor to build than the conventional Easy Roll bin. Here is a preview of the unit, and I have now included plans for this on my download link.

Easy Roll Worm Bin Composter demonstration

Here is a further demonstration and discussion of the new easy roll worm bin composting system. I started developing and testing this over three years ago and have been very happy with the performance. You can find the plans and pre-built worm bins at Easy Roll Worm Bin Composter Plans

Maintaining Moisture & adding Heat in the Compost Bin

Composting BinThis is one of my outdoor hot composting bins that I first posted awhile back. One problem that is encountered with outdoor bins – especially out in the full sun like mine, is the drying out of the compost.  As I am sure you realize, although you don’t want to keep the compost pile completely wet because of  aeration needs, it must be kept somewhat moist in order to break down the organic materials due to the needs of the aerobic microbes.

In this bin, I typically add most of my lawnmower yard cuttings and the leaves I pick up and rake from many of the trees on my property.  I have a lot of oak trees, and because the leaves have a natural coating on them, they can be particularly difficult to break down (but this does make them an excellent product for mulches).  Read the rest of this entry »

Growing Turmeric and the health benefits of Curcumin

turmericThis may be considered part 2 of  Amazing Benefits of Curcumin. However, more detail will now be given to the growing of the plant. Curcumin is the substance with amazing health benefits which is found in the rhizome root of the turmeric plant. Turmeric – or Curcuma Longa – is a tropical plant in the ginger family and more accurately, as one of the ‘hidden ginger’ varieties. As can be seen in the picture on the left , it has a similar underground root rhizome. Pictured here is one of 5 plants that I just ordered on ebay for around $8, and planted.

It is very difficult to find fresh turmeric root in a store, as one would find ginger root etc.  So for one who chooses to grow the plant, the options are in finding a specialty health food store (or Indian foods) and select a mature rhizome which they can plant. Look for roots with a small raised knob(s) or beginning shoots for planting purposes.  Because I do not have any such stores nearby that carry fresh turmeric root, I found it easier to order plants and roots on ebay. Read the rest of this entry »

Pomegranates almost ripe

PomegranatesHere is the most recent picture of my pomegranates that I last wrote about when the fruit was just starting to form on the buds. This tree is now about 7′ tall, though I did trim it some in order to direct the energy towards the developing pomegranates instead of the green growth. If you expand the picture on left, you will notice that the pomegranates are darker red on one side, and it seems to coincide with the side getting more sun.

I don’t know whether this is a characteristic of the Russian variety or whether it is a sign of non uniform ripening due to some other factor? I would appreciate any feedback if anyone knows. There are 16 pomegranates in total on this 3 year bush, so that seems like a pretty good number. However, time will tell what the quality of the fruit will be once I harvest them. Read the rest of this entry »

Muscadines already producing on vines

Muscadines Seen here are muscadines just starting to ripen on vines that I planted only the winter before last from one foot tall  bare root whips.  Therefore, this is an update to my first post Muscadine grape trellis in which I provided detail on my trellis construction and muscadine grapes. It is supposed to take about three years from initial planting of the grapes before realizing a harvest. However, just about all of my six plants have extended their cordons the full 20′ and have started to produce muscadines.  As seen here, I did cut back the new shoots along the cordon to about 6″, and I did this in order to provide energy to the production of the grapes instead of plant growth.  When I have harvested all of the grapes, I will then allow these side shoots to lengthen and fill out. Read the rest of this entry »

Growing Blackberries in your Yard

blackberry bushBlackberries are not as demanding as some small fruits like blueberries, and if conditions are favorable, they are rather prolific – in fact some varieties can get out of control if not kept in check. I currently have 12 blackberry bushes, and planted both the thorn-less and the thorned variety. Pictured on the left is the thorned erect variety ‘Chickasaw’ developed at the University of Arkansas -  and thought to be the largest berry size. I am wondering though if this comes with maturity as my plants were only planted from bare root 1 1/2 years ago. The other varieties that I have include another thorned ‘Kiowa’ and the thornless varieties of Apache, Navaho, and Natchez.

I am always inspired to grow fairly easy edibles, and especially when I visit the local supermarket and see the outrageous prices (for example a small shallow plastic of blackberries at four dollars!).  Read the rest of this entry »