We had several options for compost:
We could have bought it in bulk and had it delivered. Delivery costs like twice as much as the compost itself. This is basically the same price as bagged, but it’s not bagged, which we count in the “pro” column, but it’s trucked in, which we count in the “con” column.
We could have biked out to the outer edges of Portland on the other side of town and picked it up in bulk. Darin even built trailer walls assuming that we would pick this option out. But then picking up the other “bikes at work” trailer from the other side of town to build out the walls for it, and we weren’t if sure we were going to have help hauling the second trailer anyway, and I kept remembering that time it took us hours to haul a trailer full of paving sand, we ended up deciding to go with option 3.
Bagged compost. Costs almost as much as having it delivered, and it’s in packaging, but we get to bike it. Plus it’s close. We picked up six of the largest bags from Livingscape. Four on our Bikes at Work trailer, and two on our Burley trailer, which was hauled by a friend. We’ll pick another load some time soon.
If we had to do it again, we would probably go with just hauling the bulk compost ourselves. As it turns out, hauling the same size load on a tandem bicycle cuts the effort of hauling in half! I forgot to account for that part. We could probably haul a half a cubic yard of compost with ease.
We also stopped by the St Johns Food Share to pick up pig food for composting, but they asked that we pick it up on a Monday or a Wednesday instead. So we stuck around and volunteered instead. So our day ran late, but it meant that our friend the bartender who bikes all the time was up and about and met up to haul with us. It was their first time hauling any anything! They don’t even have a rack on their bike yet! Pretty cool.
I’ve been reading Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-reliant Gardening, and in it, I’ve been learning some growing techniques. You can grow buckwheat to keep weeds down, but only during summer, it doesn’t like frost. There’s some other green mulch, oats and peas if I remember correctly, that you can grow around squash, then when the squash plants are ready to expand, you squish the green mulch down by jumping up and down on a half-sheet of plywood, then cover it with leaves or similar, and you’ve got a nice nutritious blanket to keep the water in the soil, and that the squash can grow all over. So we will probably try that at Annex #2.
Another thing I liked from this book was the concept of “garden-without-borders” which acknowledges that it’s all connected, really. The author does “veganic” (vegan organic) gardening, which is nice to read about because we don’t really have the room for livestock since we live in the city. Which, if you check out this world map of 1700 forests vs. 2000 rangeland regions, it’s clear enough of the earth is already dedicated to livestock, anyway.
We have been working on building out our seed database using Libre Base and we’re just about there. Next step: input the data from our entire collection of seeds. I think this is a couple full days of work. This should help us a lot with gardens planning and timing.
Darin built out the rest of the under-counter shelving for the kitchen last night while we were hanging out with our friend who helped us haul soil. Now we have a place to put all our food! Hurray! We have our first couch surfer this evening! Also hurray!