Compost 101

| 12/1/2010 5:35:43 PM

Garden plot, after.

I know going into winter the last thing you may be thinking about is compost, however, as you begin ordering seeds for the next season if you don't already compost you should consider doing so. You can create beautiful, rich soil right in your own backyard with little effort. Anyone can start a compost pile, regardless of the size of your property. I love the fact that I can recycle our table scraps, although the chickens get the first pick.

Garden plot, before.

When we first purchased our 146 year old farmhouse it was in the month of June. The growing season was already well underway. I walked out to the plot the previous owner had obviously used for a garden. All I could smell was chicken poop. He also had chickens and I believe he simply added the manure to the dirt. My mom helped me with a few plantings, but not surprisingly they didn't do well at all.

By year two the dirt and manure had matured. I tilled it to improve the quality. Year three I added above ground planting boxes and purchased compost from a local farm to fill them. This was much better. I also decided to add my own compost bins enabling me to continue to top layer my beds.

Garden plot, with purchased compost ready to go into raised beds.

Nebraska Dave
12/1/2010 8:03:28 PM

Staci, I’m afraid that I am a lazy composter. I just throw all the yard waste into a pile in the backyard by the back fence. Over the course of the summer and fall a quite large pile accumulates. After the fall yard cleanup, I fork all the partially composted material into the raised garden beds and let it continue to break down over the winter. In the spring I cover the raised beds with fully composted yard waste sold by the city to the public. Yes I expect there could be a few chemicals in the material used for the composting but after the compost is finished I don’t think there are many left in the finished product. After covering the beds with compost, I plant the beds and cover them with straw. Then I fill up my gravity feed automatic watering system and spend a few minutes a day just pulling a stray weed here and there and enjoy being in the garden until harvesting begins. The main tank of the watering system has to be filled every two weeks. Have a great composting day.

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