Sunday, August 9, 2009

Been Bitten by the Cob Building Bug!

I had the opportunity to take an Earthen Plaster Workshop yesterday at the Pearson Community Garden in Montford taught by Doug Sharkey. The object of the workshop was a repair job on the Cob Oven at the site. The surface was cracking and some pieces were falling off. We mixed a batch of sand and clay to fill in the cracks and repair the lost chunks. Then mixed another formula of earthen plaster to resurface the whole thing.. clay, sand, straw and wheat paste. While we worked, we talked about the process of building and using a cob oven as well as cob construction in general.
The Pearson Community Garden has several examples of Cob Building. The Oven is surrounded by a structure made of cob. It is a beautiful curving shelter with a tin roof. Here are some photos...The "window" included a glass bottle worked into the opening. The possibilities are endless for incorporating interesting objects! I am so intrigued by the curves that are not only possible, but easy in this building form.

The other cob structure at the Pearson Community Gardens is the home for the composting toilet. A most beautiful building incorporating all sorts of cool elements. It also has a living roof and the curving walls that just really capture my imagination! It was a fabulous first taste for me and I am totally bitten by the cob bug! I look forward to learing more and building my own oven... Fresh bread anyone?

Friday, August 7, 2009


Spending the morning pulling up plants that are infested with Harlequin Bugs . I was able to knock them back a bit with a home made insecticide soap solution made with olive oil and peppermint soap mixed with water.. I am wishing that I had hit it right away with the soap solution.. I was trying to do the hand-picking thing but they really got ahead of me and took over...
It breaks my heart to not compost everything from the garden but I do not want to invite these creatures back!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Still here... just SO busy!

IT has been way too long since I posted! But as you know summer is the busy time. We were away for nearly 2 weeks and playing catch-up with the jungle that my garden has become. Rainy days while I was gone made it easy on the garden sitter.. and encouraged lots of growth. Everything is doing well but I have been battling Harlequin Bugs... yuck.. they do some serious damage! It has been hard to throw the affected plants in the trash.. I just want to compost everything.. but I don't want to invite those dastardly bugs back for a free feast next year... the affected plants are covered with eggs! SO to the dump they go. I know they will compost there and be far away from my garden!
Tomato plants are gargantuan this year.. 6 feet plus. Giant tomatoes... but mostly still green... I have been liking the cool temperatures this year... but a little heat would do all of my heat-loving crops some good!
I am dreaming of getting some chickens for eggs and compost! WE are looking at plans for a manageable chicken tractor and learning about different breeds and other chicken stuff before we take the leap!
So much happening here that it will take weeks to catch you up.. but I wanted to at least make a stab at getting back to regular posts.. Wish me luck!