Monday, December 9, 2013

First Snow Fall and Last Gardening Chores

The first snow fall of 2013 - Scituate, Massachusetts
This morning, we awoke to find snow on the ground - the first of the season.  It as fairly slushy and didn't really amount to much, but still, it signaled the start of another New England winter.  Time to finish up the last of fall's gardening chores, put away the tools and start planning for next year's garden.

I always look forward to receiving the first mail order seed catalog for 2014.  This year, it just so happens to be the one from Seed Savers Exchange.  All in all, the contents of these catalogs don't change very much from one year to the next.  Still, I enjoy flipping through them from cover to cover since you never know what you might miss if you don't.  Usually I'll find myself lusting over a vegetable or two I've overlooked in past - like this one

Our home composting operation behind our barn
Speaking of gardening chores, this past weekend I found myself working on something I've put off for quite some time now - namely our home composting operation.  The tumbling composter I'd purchased when we first moved into our new home is filled presently to well beyond capacity.  In fact, during the past week, I've had to force feed it our daily kitchen scraps.  Not a pleasant task I might add.  However, this did provide me with enough motivation to build a simple wooden compost bin that will accommodate most of our future gardening and vegetable waste. 

Speaking of waste, one of the first things we learned soon after we moved into our new place was that there was no town-operated trash pickup service in Scituate.  Instead, residents who did not arrange for trash pickup through a private waste management company had to dispose of their waste at the town's transfer station using only trash bags issued and sold by the town.  Like most other residents, we've elected to do the latter and I have to say, I couldn't be happier.  In fact, I definitely believe that it would positively impact our environment if more towns adopted this system for managing waste.

For one thing, since we personally pay for each bag of trash we dispose of (as opposed to a general tax that's easily overlooked), it incentivizes home composting and recycling, which you can drop off for free.  This daily reminder has made us much more mindful of our family's waste production, so much so that we've now reduced our non-recyclable waste output to about one extra-large garbage bag every two weeks.  Based on our past habits, this amount would be much greater if we had home trash pickup service.

A simple compost bin made from recycled wooden pallets
For my compost bin, I simply screwed together three wooden pallets and ran a piece of 2"x4" across the top to further stabilize the sides.   I couldn't get a hold of any free pallets in our area, but did find a local feed store that sold them for 5 dollars a piece.  At that price, I still consider it a bargain.  The only thing I need to do now is to find a permeable cover to place on top of the heap and maybe install a door in front.  So far, I've added some grass clippings, leaves and soil to get things started; but going forward, it will hold mostly our vegetable and gardening waste.   And chances are, I'll eventually have to install a second bin to meet our composting needs.  Lucky for me, there are gigantic piles of leaf mold and decomposed grass clippings directly behind our property - more than enough to meet my compost needs.  Anything we generate here will be an added bonus. 


  1. Totally agree that it would positively impact our environment if more towns adopted Scituate system for managing waste. I am big on recycling and have my neighbor's kids bring me their leaves.

  2. In Winchester we had a transfer station too and I looked into it. Studies have shown the added car trips from every single house tip it in favor of trash pick up being better. I think the best would be trash pick up, but everyone pays for the trash they have picked up. We almost went that way in my current town of Arlington, but they decided to have three trash cans free. Really? Three full trash cans? I've got three people living in my house right now and we put out one kitchen garbage bag each week. Three of which I can fit into a trash can. Ah well. At least they instituted mandatory recycling. In a given week if you don't put out your recycling, they won't pick up your trash.

    1. Daphne, I thought about the gas issue. Home trash pick up using only town issued trash bags seems like the best of both worlds!

  3. Hi Thimas, i am one who loved and was inspired by your Growing Tradition blog! So very glad to find you are blogging again through Annie's Granny! I hope to keep resding more!

  4. Well there you are Thomas! I finally contacted Robin to find that you had a new blog. Now I see a new (beautiful) home, new raised beds, and that you cut down trees. :)

    Gosh, it is so good to "see" you and know that Jonathan has grown leaps and bounds and is now in school. Blessings to you and your family.

  5. That melon looks interesting. I have been eying the Georgia Candy Roaster Squash, almost just for the comedic value :)