Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Only 30 More Days

Did you know the first day of spring is March 20th? That's only 30 days away!! Even though it's only 4 degrees outside right now, it's a beautiful, sunny afternoon and I noticed some signs of thawing--on the deck......
and on the patio below where snow is melting and dripping off the roof......

(gotta remember to watch my step here tomorrow morning--my birdseed bins are right next to this icy spot!)

I've been inspired by some of the other gardening bloggers like Robin (Bumblebee), Barefoot Gardener (the queen of raised bed gardening) and Tracy (who posted links to seed catalogs the other day) and I've already decided that this year I'm going to expand my garden by adding one more raised bed and try to be more conscientious about pulling weeds and faithful to the idea of growing and preserving more of my own produce.

After looking at some on-line seed catalogs this morning, I also did a little "googling" to find out more about compost tumblers and rainbarrels. Gosh, that was so much fun I completely forgot about work for a while!

Here's the Envirocycle Compost Tumbler

I think this would be a little bit easier for me to work with and obtain good compost results than the composting box I have on the ground next to the garage (that I forget to turn faithfully). Plus the cost includes the price of shipping (which is rather substantial on a unit this large). I would really like to get one of these and if anyone has any experience or information they'd like to share with me, I'd really appreciate it.

I've been reading and hearing quite a lot lately also about saving water. Did you know you could use the rinse water from your washing machine to water plants? Now I'm trying to figure out what sort of bucket I could use to collect the rinse water as it pumps out of my washer.

We also have a gutter downspout on each corner of our house. Ideally, I need to figure out a way to divert the water from the downspout on the back of the garage out to the garden for watering purposes, which would still leave me with 3 downspouts where I could place rainbarrels.

They sure have come a long way from the old 55-gallon metal drum my grandma in Wisconsin used to have outside her house.....

I still need to do some thinking about the whole rain barrel idea because if it's raining enough to fill the rain barrel, then I wouldn't need to worry about saving water for the gardens since Mother Nature is already taking care of that, right? So if any of you have thoughts or advice on rainbarrels also, please feel free to share them with me in an e-mail or in my comments section.


loribird said...

Ha! The only rain barrel I've ever used was a 50-gallon drum... with a length of green waterhose sticking out the side, you had to suck on the end to get the siphon going... (It watered the garden just fine though.)
I don't know much about the composter, but it looks nice. I want one too, I told Andy it would make a nice Valentine's Day gift, but he didn't get the hint.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow those are some fancy high tech rain barrels and compost bins. I wouldlike to try a rain barrel. Especially if it is going to be so dry here this summer. I was one worried person last summer. I know other places are much worse off but I dread the thought of another summer like our last one, or worse.

barefoot gardener said...

Well, thank you for the compliment, darlin'!

I think (I am not sure) that you have to be careful what laundry soap you use if you are going to reuse your wash water for the garden.

I love the idea of the rain barrels. I have wondered how long the water can be held in the barrels, because you're right in the whole "if it's raining, what do I need the barrel for?" thing. If you find out, let me know. ;)

Good luck with your plans!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Spring can't come soon enough for me. It's 30 degrees outside (I know, warm to you) and I can't get used to wearing my Patagonia long johns in the house to keep warm.

All I can think about is gardening...well, and birds.

Robin at Bumblebee

Mary said...

Ruthie, you crack me up. I like your ideas about conserving water - as you can well imagine here in Charlotte, it's a hot topic! Rain barrels are wonderful IF you get rain.

Actually, we've had normal rainfall this month and we pray for the trend to continue.

Sounds like you are primed for SPRING. Single digit temps won't stop you now :o)


LauraHinNJ said...

I do worm composting - so no help with your tumblers.

Seed catalogs are dangerous to me this time of year - all those flowers - all those possibilities - makes me forget all the work involved!

Anonymous said...

That water barrel is also good for watering indoor plants, that's why Grandma in Wis. had one.
If you saw Julie's blog the other day, you wouldn't need a paper shredder if you have a "Chet Baker" in residence.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Loribird,
The nice thing about these barrels is they have a cover on them. That way I wouldn't have to worry about a bird or any other critters falling in and drowning.
I'm definitely seeing that composter in my future, though!

Hi Lisa,
That's what I'm thinking about those rain barrels too. We had a few dry weeks but one good rainstorm would fill a barrel pretty fast and if I had 2, 100 gallons of water would last for a while, don't you think?

Hi Barefoot,
I definitely need to do more research on that laundry rinse water. I've never looked into the washer to see what the rinse water looks like.... I imagine it's probably not something I want to water my vegetables with, is it? HMMMMM, now you've got me thinking....maybe I'd better just go with the rainbarrels to save water.

Hi Robin,
At home, I've been wearing at least two layers + a sweater all winter long. I'm looking forward to when the snow finally melts and I can go outside to fill the birdfeeders without having to put on snowboots first. We heard earlier in the week that it was supposed to be in the 30's this weekend, but now the weatherman has revised that down to 20's and maybe another snowstorm on Monday too. I can't think of anyone who will be sorry to see winter end this year!

Hey Mary,
You should have your rain barrels out now to see how much you can store up -- although I'm hoping very strongly that your dry spell is going to end this spring/summer.

Hi Laura,
I've read a little about worm composting. Do you use red worms? Do you have one of those multi-layered composting bins? Do you have to worry about the worms freezing in the winter? If you've done a blog post about this, please send me the link so I can learn more from someone who's actually doing it! Thanks.

Hi Mom,
I couldn't remember why Grandma had that rain barrel. We loved playing in the water and watching all the mosquito larvae swimming around!
I saw the post about Chet Baker "the shredder." That was too funny--I loved the expressions on his little face!

Aquabarrel said...

Check out the rain barrel kits and rain barrels offered by - They also offer downspout diverters and downspout filters - plus mosquito control products for the standing water.

mon@rch said...

It is hard to believe that spring is right around the corner! Shouldn't be too long before flowers start showing up and birds start returning!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

One of my environmental projects this year is to install rain barrels. I don't think red is a good idea though. Red? Who thought that was a good idea?

Anyway, I wonder why the RSS feed on your blog isn't updating in my reader. I clicked because I thought "Where in the world is Ruthie?"

Robin at Bumblebee

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Oh, I should tell you too that the RSS feed on my blog needs to be updated since I moved hosting services.

Nothing is easy...

Robin at Bumblebee

Susan Gets Native said...

I do old-fashioned composting...chucking out a can of junk from the kitchen when the can gets full. But I would love a tumbler. It would be a good job for the girls.
And I would also love a rain barrel. I hate to think of all that lovely water going down our spouts to the sump pump and then out to wherever it goes...
My grandma had the big metal barrel, too...and my grandpa liked to keep his snapping turtles in it right before he "processed" them into soup.

me and my camera said...

What a memory the word, 'rain barrel' conjures up; I haven't used that term for years. My grandparents always kept an old wooden rain barrel on their back step and my grandmother always used the soft water gathered from there for a shampoo.

Your mention of them seems like its something I should check out too, to perhaps place in those distant corners of my garden that don't get watered too often.

This is my first visit to your blog but I shall return to read more of your interesting posts.

April said...

I can hardly wait! We are already seeing some thawing here, too. Since we have our own well, we collect rainwater for the garden faithfully. And I've been composting for years - sure does wonders for the plants.

Cathy said...

Cool! Hadn't thought of rain barrels in years.

I love the pictures of MELTING snow. Yea!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks for the link Aquabarrel.

Hi Mon@rch,
The cardinals and chickadees have been trying to tell me spring is coming and I'm finally starting to believe it!

Hi Robin,
That red rain barrel is just a pic I grabbed from their website, they also have dark green and brown (I like the brown myself).

Hi Susan,
I have a white ceramic "bucket" on my kitchen counter for compost that goes out to the bin behind my garage. But now that I've found out about all the other stuff a person can compost besides just kitchen waste, that big tumbler might work pretty good.
Snapping turtles, eh? I bet your grandma warned you kids not to stick your hands in that rain barrel!

Hello to Me and My Camera,
Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed a trip down rainbarrel memory lane. It seems like our grandparents had the right idea about lots of things, didn't they?
My blog posts have been sporadic lately, but I welcome you to stop by for a visit anytime.

Hi April.
We're on a shared well with 4 other households. I think saving the rainwater would certainly reduce some of our water usage--especially if I expand my garden this year.