Gardening at Solstice

As the light wanes (we get sun-up here around at about 9:15 these days and the sun drops below the hills at around 3:30), I feel the need for “dirt” and “green”.    So…..

Last week I emptied the worm composter.  I confess that the worms get some neglect during the summer….. but happily there are still quite a number in the composter  (I fed them again yesterday, so they are growing rapidly).  DSCF8468This consists of dumping the contents onto a tarp, putting the non-digested newspaper (with as many worms as possible) back into the composter, and then DSCF8472sifting through the remaining worm dirt (castings) to remove the worms.  The worms naturally move away from the light, so spreading out the dirt causes them to move back into the middle of the pile.  DSCF8470In the end, you are left with a container (I half filled a recycled feed bag) of worm castings which are a great soil amendment.  I have not a few houseplants that needed a boost, so I’m happy to have the castings to add to the top.

Over the last few days I have fixed up the window aquaponics that I started last year.  I got a new window rack with shelves that I’m using as the support/base for the system.  Right now, I’m just trying to perfect the main level.   I think the pump is a bit too big and the bell siphon is not disconnecting properly at the end of the cycle.  That needs fixing!!!  Last night I planted some seeds (lettuce, chard, beets, radishes, endive) in the vermiculite.  As the seedlings appear I will transplant them to the growing medium of the aquaponics set-up.

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Those two “spriggly” plants are a cyprus (water plant) start from the mother plant and a bit of water cress rescued from the outdoor pond before frost.  The watercress has been in the fish tank on the floor, without much light. Hopefully it will green up and spark up in it’s present location.  Once the system gets fixed up and growing well, I plan to add a couple of layers above on the shelf where those small pots are currently sitting.  The water will be pumped from the fish tank (on the floor) up to the top shelf growbed where it will drain (via gravity) back down to the middle shelf growbed, and then into the lower shelf growbed, where the bell siphon will eventually drain it back into the fish tank.

In additiobirdn to the inside stuff, I’m starting my winter sowing for Solstice.  Tomorrow, I will be planting Seeds of Remembrance (for someone who is gone);  Seeds of Life (to attract birds/butterflies/and/or bees to my garden);  Seeds of Trees (to symbolize our dependance on the Natural world for sustainance); and Seeds of Faith (from a warmer zone – to symbolize our need for faith in God, and His work in our lives).  These will be sown in those milk jug containers that I prepped and used last year.  Got quite a few plants out of that…… lupins, columbine, wild rose, mountain ash, hollyhocks, calendula, sweet peas.   Some worked out well, some not so good.  The weather is supposed to be warm on Sunday/Monday, so I’ll be able to get all the containers prepped and ready for planting in a month or so.   Never a dull moment around here!!

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