Saturday, March 30, 2013

Non-sewing Project - Keyhole Garden

It's Saturday Sharing Day at Pigtales and Quilts - a linky party to share what you like! It doesn't have to be quilting related! Today, I'm taking the 'it doesn't have to be quilting related' route! Click here to check out what everyone else is up too!

Hello! I wanted to share with you my non-sewing project - a keyhole garden. Have you heard of it? You can read about it here and here.  My sister, Simone, told me about it. In summary, (I can be wordy, so hopefully I can summarize it), it's a circular raised garden bed, with a center compost basket. A notch, or pie-shape, is cut out of the circle for easy access to the basket. The compost basket is a place for you to drop in kitchen waste, grass clippings, rotting wood, water, etc. As the items compost and you add water down through the basket the composting nutrients will leach out into the garden soil. 
I'll explain more as I show you my photos.

It's nearly impossible to dig in our rocky ground. I always wanted a vegetable garden and I know the solution to having a garden on rocky ground is a raised bed. Making a raised bed would mean getting my husband involved and well he's a wonderful man but I knew he wouldn't go for it.

The picture above is a 6ft diameter circle which is the outline of the garden walls. In learning about how to build a keyhole garden I read you can use different materials such as cinder blocks, bricks, stones whatever material you might have on hand.

We still have plenty of building materials leftover from when we built our house and I thought, I can make this! Naturally, where we had the cinder blocks stored was on the opposite side of the property from where I wanted to build the garden. My husband was very helpful by loading them in a cart behind the 4-wheeler. He scattered them around the garden area for me as I constructed the walls.

Garden walls... done! The reason it's called a 'keyhole' garden is because looking at it from the top, it looks like a lock.. a hole to put a key.. a keyhole.

Yea! I did it! The compost basket will be in the center, behind where I'm standing. The notch allows me easy access to the basket. The circular shape allows easy access to the garden and the raised bed will make it easy on my back!!

The instructions say to line it with cardboard and generously wet it down. This is for a couple of reasons, the cardboard will act as a seal for the walls and it promotes the bugs needed to breakdown everything. (the basket is still missing)

I finally made the basket! It was a little bigger than I planned but it will work just the same! I'll drop the kitchen waste, grass clippings, rotting wood and water in the basket.

I started layering different materials. You are seeing old grass clippings here, but under the grass clippings are cardboard boxes from soda cases, cereal and snack cake boxes, and beer boxes. I was calling it the 'dumpster' garden because that's what it looked like and I didn't want you to see that photo.

On top of the grass clippings is a layer of newspapers. I wet down each layer.

A layer of compost I had 'cooking' in another part of our property.

On top of the compost is another layer of newspaper and then a layer of leaves.

Ok, here are the leaves after I wet them down.

Another layer of newspaper and some rotting wood and a little dirt from old plant pots. This is where I had to stop because we went on spring break vacation!! The weather has been cold and/or rainy and/or the wind has been blowing like crazy since we got back. I still have more old grass clippings and compost and leaves I can layer. The top 6 inches should be filled in with soil and should be mounded and taper down to the sides.
It's been almost 2 weeks since I've been able to add compost materials to the garden, I hope what's there is starting to compost and break down and settle a little. Actually I can see that it has settled some. Then when I add my final layer of soil maybe it won't sink in as much.
I'd like to plant tomatoes and summer squash and some herbs. There's a good chance I'll have a problem with deer eating the garden, but I'll deal with that when it happens. I've been reading up on deer, and raccoons eating the garden. Once I get the veggies planted I'll post about it so you can see it finished!
Do you have a vegetable garden? I would love to hear about it (and learn from you).
Thanks for stopping by!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm (a little) Behind!

Well, I'm (a little) behind with my February and March UFO's, WIP's, sewing projects, and blog posts. I started out good in January and then ... well life happens. Isn't that how it usually happens! We make those January goals, or goals at any time and there always seems to be challenges in getting them done. I am not complaining but very blessed and grateful that the life happenings haven't been bad, just busy.. working late, track and spring football practice for J1, and soccer practice and games for J2, and spring break vacation. (Ahh! a much needed vacation!)
I wanted to share with you what I made in February, which was not on my original sewing project list. The youth group at my church host a Valentine's Banquet each year. Due to scheduling conflicts, it was a little later, February 23rd.
The youth group serve the food to the guest and they also provide entertainment. Let me add there are lots of adults in the background that plan, cook the meal, and direct the teens on what to do. The teens do a great job serving, refilling drinks, picking up dirty dishes and then prepare for and entertain the audience. The entertainment was a 50's Soda Shop theme. Usually we don't ask the banquet guest to come dressed to match the entertainment but this year they did encourage everyone to come dressed up 50's style.
The thought of making a poodle skirt crossed my mind but I was busy ... see paragraph one. As usual I waited until nearly the last minute to decide to make a poodle skirt. I gave myself 6 days. Sounds like plenty of time but not with my schedule of not being able to work on it every day.
I bought the McCall's M5681 costume pattern and picked out a pretty purple broadcloth. Oh! I haven't cut out pattern pieces in years and I got busy cutting and pinning.
Speaking of cutting let's cut to the chase and show you some photos!

Finished 2 hours before the banquet!

Instead of using one of the applique designs that came with the pattern, I added a little more stress to my life by customizing an applique that resembles our dog Marley. My oldest son helped me with the customization to help make it look more like Marley. It was worth the extra effort and definitely made the skirt unique.
 Marley is part Labrador and part Basset Hound. He looks like a Lab with short legs. He has a long Basset muzzle and the length of his ears are in between a Lab and a Basset. Our vet who is also a friend and member of our church calls him a 'LabraBasset'.

The costume came with a petticoat pattern. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I'm glad I made the petticoat!
Here's a photo of it blowing in the wind and the petticoat behind the skirt. I wanted the lace of the petticoat to fall just below the hem of the skirt, so the pretty lace could be seen.

Finally, here I am sporting my 50's look!
Thanks for stopping by! Even though I've been too busy to publish a post, I have been reading your post and as always ... you continue to inspire me!