Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Secret Gardens

The vegetation at the Secret Garden is continually fed.  Sometimes we use horse manure.  Sometimes we use sea weed that washes up on the beach.   We continually grind up leaves, grass and chop up larger branches into little pieces.  We avoid using store bought fertilizer.

We discovered where you can buy compost for $8 a square meter.  Just how much is a square meter of compost?  It is approximately the size of the bed in my 2004 Tacoma.  That's a lot of compost for $8.  (It's on Sale!) We bought 18 cubic meters.  I had someone deliver 8 meters, and I've been transporting the other 10.

This compost is from Autoridad de Acueductos, or rather our water company.  In Mayaguez there is an official compost factory.  It's huge.  They take sediment from filtered water, along with solids from other treated waters, and these are mixed with wood chips and they're heated and then left to cure.

The result is a dry black mixture smelling as though it is burnt.  When it gets wet, it really smells burnt, but this goes away after a few days.   While I was waiting my turn to pay, a dump truck driver told me he delivers this compost to farmers and their plants grow as they're on steroids.
The compost plant is down the street from the Mayaguez Airport.  Their "hours" are from 7:30 to 11:30, and then from 12:30 to 2:30.  Their hours are somewhat fuzzy.  Not exactly from 7:30 to 2:30, but a little bit less.

In the few weeks I've been using this stuff, I am extremely happy, I see the results.  I'm using the compost to raise the garden beds and fertilize everything else.  I stopped the by the Coqui, our Rincon PR Newspaper the other day, and their gardens are fabulously manicured.  My style of gardening is  tropical jungle.  I like the feeling of walking through where plants have gone wild.   I like dangling vines, chirping  crickets and coquis after sun sets, in our secret gardens.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Puerto Rico Earthquakes

Since I moved down to Puerto Rico, the earth has been shaking. At times there are around 300 tremors per month. This is an active area where the Caribbean and the North American Plate meet. I've always thought about mentioning the tremors. Sometimes you feel them, but mostly you don't. This morning, around 4:30 I felt one, strong enough to wake me up. It sounded like the trembling you feel when thunder passes after a lightning strike, but it lasted about 25 seconds. My exercise machine, and knit knacks on the dresser also trembled.
Tremors are a good sign.  It means the plates are releasing energy.  If they didn't, the energy would build up, and then shake in a fierce way.

It was over as fast as it came.  This tremor was 3.5.  A smaller tremor shook about half an hour later, but I didn't feel that one.   In the local schools you have earthquake drills.   If the schools are near water, you also have tsunami drills.  I guess I have to prep my family in case we get the big one.  But, with all the tremors and the shaking, it may not come.

 You can get much information about local and worldwide earthquakes from the US Gov Earthquake Hazard Program  and  the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.