Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekend Inspiration: Compost, Hummingbirds, and Tomatoes

I recently had a chance to see Mark Cullen speak.   Here is the scoop:


He reminded the audience that now is an excellent time to put down a 2 inch layer of compost on your beds. 

Mark also talked about a recent trip to the UK where he visited Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens has one of the most famous compost heaps in the world.

(Image via Kew Gardens)

The Kew Gardens compost heap produces about 4,000 cubic metres of mulch a year and is a tourist attraction in its own right.

My family composted before it was trendy. In fact, when the fall leaves were put on the heap we used to play in the compost.  Here are some shots of good fun in the compost heap.

We started composting in our present home in 2001.  I don't know how we would have survived the 2002 and 2009 garbage strikes without a home composter.  Toronto has a weekly green bin program so we use that as well.

If you need some tips on starting your own compost heap, this site is a good starting point.

Hummingbird Migration

Mark also mentioned that hummingbird migration start in early April. Put your hummingbird feeder out now.  For more information on hummingbird migration in Ontario, this is a great site.

Growing Tomatoes

Finally, Mark also gave some tips on tomato plants (note: it is too early to put plants out now!).  Here are his rules for a bumper crop:
  1. Pick stalky, short green plants.
  2. Dig a whole 1/2 size of a bushel basket.
  3. Fill with 1/2 compost, 1/2 sandy soil.
  4. Mulch.
  5. Water deeply.
  6. Stake in June.  Mark prefers these spiral stakes over hockey sticks.
  7. Fertilize  (Mark uses Green Earth granular 4-6-8 Tomato food).
  8. Apply bordo mixture in July to prevent blight.
  9. Make sure you harvest and you will double your crop.
I will add be sure to pick up a good tomato knife.

(Wusthof Classic 5" Tomato Knife, image via Williams-Sonoma)

That's the scoop! I hope you are enjoying the weekend!


  1. Way to go Kareena! Nice blog. I thought that kid in the pile of leaves looked like you...some 20 years ago.

    We run 4 composters in our backyard. What I do in the fall is gather the leaves and shred them down with the lawn mower before putting them in the bin. With the thaw earlier this month, I was able to turn 3 out of 4 bins six weeks earlier than usual. I'm sure I'll have at least 2 cubic meters of compost by July.

    We don't do "Green Bin". We don't generate enough meat scraps to justify using it (compared to the effort of keeping the bin clean), and I'm certainly not going to send my vegetable scraps to the city only to have them charge me back for the compost.

    Thanks for the hummingbird feeder tip.

  2. Great post! Love the retro pics!

  3. Great post! We've been composting since the late 80's. ...and your felt pasta is precious! Thanks so very much for your sweet comment on my bottlecap cupcake pincushions! I really appreciate it. Have a fun weekend! big hug...

  4. I never knew that about Kew Gardens! I compost everything! I just dumped my composted heap on my raised bed getting ready to plant some veggies. Plants just LOVE that stuff!

    Have a great week!


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