Learning about Compost is a big task. There is much to learn! Different types and designs of the pile, hot or cold, worm composting, making compost teas and learning about the soil web and much much more. Dave took me on a date today. We date maybe a little differently than you do. He took me to a free class about composting at our local Garden Spot Nursery 🙂 The teacher, Paige, got us all excited to try composting again. She was so informative about the soil web and different types of composting, when to compost and other dirty subjects. You can read her article on the soil web here. Her post has resources listed at the end of her enjoyable post so you can get better information on these fascinating subjects. I encourage you to read her post and look up those resources!
Learning about Compost:
Over our many years of gardening in this place, we have attempted composting in various ways. I believe we have made every beginner’s mistake in designing and putting together compost piles. Our compost has been poor quality, anaerobic, pest attracting and a smelly, sludgy mess at various times.
Last year Dave made another go at it. He made compost bins out of garbage cans. This did work but there is precious little compost for over a year of his diligent work on it. Today, he made another type of compost bin. A very easy one made of wire and metal fence posts and stuck it right in the center of our garden. It took him a half hour. Paige taught us how to use PVC pipe in the compost bin or stacked branches to aerate the pile without having to turn it with a shovel or pitchfork.
So Dave put pipes into his pile part way in a random order so oxygen can reach different parts of the pile. Fingers crossed! Notice the extremely small pile of compost in the bottom of the new compost bin. That is over a year’s worth of compost Dave made in his old garbage can bins! We hope this new system will yield a better volume and compost quality.
Self Managing Garden! Sign me up!
We are also excited to learn that the soil web, if properly managed and nourished will take care of a lot of the work in our garden. Dave can even stop tilling! We need to slowly adjust to that. Right now our lower garden isn’t fit for man or bug. Too wet! Dave bought some compost tea bags to distill his own compost tea. We are interested in trying it out on plants to help discourage mildew on the leaves. Apparently spraying a compost tea on the leaves will fill the leaves with good fungi which will help stave off the bad ones! We’ll let you know how that turns out. Compost tea is also good for other things like helping sick plants, encouraging transplants and small starts, and generally giving plant life a pick me up. If Dave likes how it works he will probably make his own compost tea in the future.
Let me direct you to Billyoh.com for an excellent article on learning about compost by Lindsy Cullin. She covers the topic very thoroughly. Billyoh has many articles of interest to gardeners and DIY persons. And a whole section on DIY pallets! Lots of good reads over there. Check it out!
What else is new in our garden? Dave and Evan put in a walking path around our raised beds today! They laid landscape fabric down and poured gravel onto it so we can easily walk and not have to battle the weeds later in the summer. Isn’t it beautiful? Happiness!
Dave has the garden looking fabulous. He has the strawberry beds all pruned and the new strawberry starts in towers. We’ll have tons of lovely berries ripening in the greenhouse in the next month or so. The kale, broccoli and other veggies are actually growing outdoors straight through this mild winter. Although slowly. It’s so fun to have our own garden grown kale salad in deep winter. Dave made another new raised bed recently and filled it up with amended soil so it’s all ready to plant. That makes four raised beds in the outdoor garden. We love them and strongly encourage you to use raised beds.