Monday, January 31, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Compost

Here on the coast, we are lucky not to be covered under a blanket of snow & have the ground frozen solid. [Well, not having a consistent snow cover does hamper the traditional concept of winter gardening, but we have other ways of overcoming...] But this time of year - especially February - is a great time for many of us to get outside to check on the state of our gardens.

One of the first things I like to do is empty out my compost tumbler. It's been stewing for the past 4 months, so I give the barrel the last few good turns & then dump it all into my wheelbarrow.

I would like to sift the compost, but at this stage, it's still a bit wet & clumpy, so I just add a bit of wood shavings (not too much as it will alter the pH of the compost) & let the compost mellow in 2 totes til I have need of it later on in the spring. There is no benefit to adding it to the gardens now as the spring rains will just leech all the nutrients away.

I find it fascinating (as a compost geek would, I suppose) to see what has actually ended up in my composter. You know the ends of the cucumber you chop off & then fight with the plastic wrap around them - I think I've become lazy because I find these little plastic bits in my compost all the time. I hate throwing vegetable matter into the garbage - maybe I figure eventually the plastic will disappear. Well it doesn't. Also, those stickers they put on practically every piece of vegetable & fruit we buy in the grocery store - they don't break down either! I've found quite a few in the mix. And it looks like this year, I thought I would try to compost swamp grass clippings!! Eek! I have found some of it growing in my veggie beds, but I think it from blown in seed & I'm quick to yank it out - it's next to impossible to remove from the yard.

I've also been noticing certain veggie materials that don't work too well in the composter. Corn cobs & avocado pits are my nemisis... As you can see, the avocado pits look quite solid & whole. I wonder how long it would actually take for them to disappear?

Well, this is spring chore #1 done. Time for me to get back out there & see what has survived the winter foraging of the deer...

1 comment:

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I love compost too! It's like gold in the garden!