A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens


I’m so in love with my passion fruit vine. Like, more than like, like. Love!

Not only does it give me bucketfuls of tantalizing and delicious fruit, but it also is always lush with bright green healthy leaves all year round. It is drought-proof as well it seems and the most vigorous grower of any of my plants.  It is the fastest, prettiest, and tastiest way to provide privacy as well!

Not to mention the mesmerizingly beautiful blooms that last for all the warm months here in San Diego.

Passion fruit flower.
Did I mention the passion fruit? So good!

What I’m really digging lately is how the vine can be trained for a makeshift roof as well. Not only does it provide much needed shade to help keep my compost piles moist, but it also keeps out the pepper tree droppings. Pepper trees rob the surrounding soil of all the nutrients and I don’t trust the leaves or peppercorns being in my compost bin. That bitch is selfish, and selfish in means selfish out to me. So pepper tree is banned from any compost activities until I see some solid research that says otherwise. Anyone know if it’s safe and I’m being paranoid?

Regardless, I so love the effect of this canopy. It reminds me of the hobbit home I wanted to live in as a child. Ah crap, who am I kidding. I still want to live in a hobbit home.

I also made a little natural shed to the left to store straw bales and a wheelbarrow. It’s so dense on that side that it keeps out a lot of rain and er’thang stays nice and dry. When it comes to this lengthy drought keeping the compost bin moist is a challenge so shade is key. That sun is a killer most of the year in my yard.

But not lately! We’ve been getting some above average rainfall this winter. I never thought I’d say those words again! Above. Average. Rainfall! All of my plants have been singing lately! Songs of lush and vigorous growth and a whisper of great yields this coming season. The cloudy skies bring a much needed cool down for the damaged and burnt soil throughout the area. It’s a good thing. Plus, I get to carry around my umbrella a lot and use it as a cane when I’m in my fancy pants and ties. Super classy.

But something that I haven’t had to deal with in years is a completely gross and soggy chicken run! Not so much a good thing. My ladies don’t approve of it either and I can’t let down my special ladies y’all! At least the heavy and saturated poopstraw is practically composted already. But man, it’s sure heavy dragging all those barrels back and forth to the bins. Luckily I’m a spry old man. Hardened and grizzled by determination and a daily regiment of power/rock squats.

A friend helped me gather the fresh straw supplies that I needed. My little Tbird makes a piss-poor truck. It’s good to have friends. It’s even better to have truck friends. Cheers truck friend 😉

I love fresh straw day. You can lay down in there without fear of the dreaded poop encounters. Added bonus: you can cuddle with puppies too.

Sasha and Hunter rest in the chicken run with big pappa.
Sasha digging the chicken run.
Hunter laying eggs.

The hens seem to enjoy it as well. All that fresh pecking and scratching is what they dream about.

All in all, I’ll never say no to more rain. I’ve also been cleaning up the paths and beds from all the guinea fowl destruction. Soon my oasis will be running smoothly and looking great again. So, that’s pretty neat.



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19 Replies to “A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens”

    1. Thanks. It’s starting to come along. The last few years have been tough though. All water related. I had to get very creative and even then I lost a lot of plants to drought. But, lessons were learned and more tolerant species were selected to replace the lost ones.

  1. I love the passionflower vine over the compost heap! I keep fighting off the neighbor’s Virginia Creeper which has now started to propagate itself all over my yard now (grrrr). I bought some passionflower seeds last year to try, have you tried growing from seed?

    1. Hi Emma! That Virginia creeper sounds like a real jerk face. Be ever vigilant and eventually it’ll take a hint.

      My worst enemy was spotted spurge. It ran Barter Town for years. Then I got all hazmat with it. I’d pull it right away and then torch the ground so the seeds would die as well. After four years, it’s barely visible in my yard. Finally! When it does pop up, I’m on it like white on rice. No mercy!

      I’ve never tried passion fruit from seed before. I just get small potted vines. The smaller and cheaper the better. They grow so fast in one season that to pay extra for a large one is foolish. I’d like to try propagation via clippings at some point though.

      1. Do you cut it back each season or leave it be? It sounds like it would be a good barrier from the dog fight through chain link fence.

        The creeper just sets off something in me when I find it, I’m sure the neighborhood kids hide as the sounds of unfiltered English rage echoes through quite Utah suburbs….

        1. Haha. Rage on! Did you ever see the post I did about killing weeds with fire. I get a bit crazy as well. Gotta get in their heads!

          I trim back the passion fruit every winter. Not too much, but I’d you want tons of fruit, you’ve gotta prune it annually. The flowers only appear on new growth.

          My dog still barks through the fence regardless of the vines. My neighbor is a dog sitter, so there are different pups almost daily. On and on. And on. But it’s all playful.

          1. OMFG I LOVE IT!!!!! I know what I’m asking for on my birthday! What can be better than a crazy scientist going nuts in the yard with sharp implements at plants? One with a flamethrower.

          2. Haha, most excellent! Another convert! The best part of it is it kills all the seeds, so every year gets a little bit better as far as weeds go.

            Also, now I get excited about weeds. I adore the flamethrower method. Just make sure you have a hose ready just in case. No accidents yet and I usually do it after a rain or after I’ve watered all the beds.

          3. I LOVE IT!!!!! I know what I’m asking for on my birthday! What can be better than a crazy scientist going nuts in the yard with sharp implements at plants? One with a flamethrower.

      1. I think I thought loofahs came from the sea. Really. I also do not currently use a loofah, but want to make the switch seeing as how it’s the most eco-friendly, completely compostable option. It’s not just for scrubbing your back…it’s for your dishes too!

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