Friday, September 7, 2012

Compost Happenings

I never make enough compost for all my needs, but I do make a bit of it. I've been tossing on the plants as I've been pulling them out and the compost usually sinks down enough to toss on more. This pile was started last fall. I don't worry about keeping a hot pile. It is just too much work and takes up too much space. So I just keep piling it on until it gets too big for the bin. Once that happens I turn it in to the next bin where I take out finished compost. This bin wasn't empty yet. So I had to move it. I made a little wire bin to put the excess into.

I got all the compost moved out, but I only succeeded in getting half the pile turned over. I'll finish soon. Then I can put my screening back up and it will look nicer. The view out my back sliding door is pretty right now except for the compost pile. The garlic chives are in bloom, as are the marigolds and morning glories. I really want to rip up the sweet potatoes that flood the area, but I don't see signs that they have done anything yet. I'll be sad if they came to nothing this year. So sad.

Then for some reason I felt I had to finish cleaning out my pantry. I found a lot of bought canned goods that had tomatoes or peppers in them. So I've put them on the pile to give away. These I'll give to the food pantry. The food pantry won't take my home canned goods. So those go to my friends. One friend was over last night to pick up his share and he brought me some black currant jam. Oh yum. He says he will be doing red current jams too and he owes me a jar. It will be fun to eat.

I never did get to picking my squash. I really should do that. Most of them are ready. But with sweat dripping down my nose I retreated into the house. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow.


  1. I don't know how to describe the impression your post has on me. It's honest, quiet, in the moment and very true to life. I'm not trying to sound poetic or to have some kind of ethereal moment. It's just that our compost pile has its own issues, and there's plenty of loose ends all around, around here. It's comforting to know that we're not alone. Thanks.

    And it's good to know that your solanums aren't going to waste! You might not be able to have them, but at least you can share them. BTW, after hearing your story about solanum disease, or whatever it's called, I have become more careful. I always gather the harvest with long sleeves. I would never have guessed this, but your story made me aware. Every time I come in from our garden jungle, my long sleeves are covered in a green!

  2. My compost bins are on the far side of my vegetable garden and are never a pretty sight. I do both the easy method like you, most of the plants fom the vegetable garden go into the bins and keep sinking down and getting added to until I turn them. I also add all the compostable kitchen scraps to those bins. And I do hot composting for the woody and brushy materials. They accumulate until I have a big pile of them, then I get my chipper-shredder out and reduce the big pile into one that will fit into one of the bins and that stuff gets mixed with the chicken poop that I collect from my girls and voila - hot stuff - usually up to about 160°F for a few days. I don't bother to turn it, but just leave it and once it cools the worms and sow bugs go to work and turn it into black gold. And you are so correct, it seems to be impossible to make enough compost to meet my needs.

  3. I have a compost pile/worm pile in the corner of my garden that isn't pretty. The worst part is that the worms seem to have left the pile this year. I put the garden on automatic water and forgot to water the compost pile often enough. I think it got too dry for the poor worms. At least they could escape down into the ground or over to the garden bed. Hopefully they will return since I realized the error of my ways. The worms make fast work of making compost.

  4. I like your screening system. My compost piles are also just piled and not actively kept hot. Periodically they do heat up though because I add some spoiled chicken feed and manure raked up from the hen yard. Add a little water to that and mix it in and watch the pile flame up with heat! I am maxing out my piles at the moment and need to either start using more of it to open up bins for the inevitable big fall garden debris and leaves - or construct a few more bins.

  5. I like your compost system - i have a couple of plastic bins but I need to move them and I'm considering replacing them with a pallet version - Your system looks about right. I was surprised by my sweet potatoes - I couldn't really tell anything was happening until I had a feel in the ground and there they were - hope your experience is similar.

  6. My compost system looks a lot like yours (except yours looks much neater). I have two bins fashioned from pallets, but I need to get a third one made for those times when the garden waste is really coming in. Mine is occasionally 'hot', but usually not. It all turns into compost eventually for sure!