Thursday, July 22, 2010

Compost Demystified

Composting seems to be somewhat of a confusing topic/task for a lot of people.
I am hear to tell you that it is nothing to burn internet hours over! Basically if you throw a banana peel on the ground, it will become compost. The amount of time it will take will depend greatly on the environmental conditions where you leave it but none the less, it will eventually compost or decompose. Same thing. My set up is of course, cheap. I used seven pallets and some old 2x6's to create a three bay set up.

Why three bays? That is the amount of space I was willing to lend to the project and seemed like it might make a decent contribution to the garden. I'll give you that it is not pretty but, it draws little attention, is easy to work with, cheap and can look prettier if vines are grown over it. I prefer morning glories. There are many recipes out there for layering, turning, temperatures and timing etc. I am hear to tell you that it really doesn't matter. The more effort you put in, the faster things will go and the more compost you will get. On the other hand, if you just pile it all in the bin and do absolutely nothing, you will still get compost. I will give you just a few basic rules to remember: 1)Stay away from meat and dinner scraps. The only thing this will do is add smell and stray animals. 2) The pile does need moisture to decompose. You can wait on mother nature or add some. Its up to you. 3)Turn the pile. Air will help speed the process. You decide if you want to go with biweekly, monthly, yearly etc. 4)Composting can be done with a shovel. You don't need to contain it if you don't want to, just make a pile. 5)All plant material is fair game. If you have copious amounts of seeded weeds you may want to send those to the trash. No branches larger than your ipod cord. That is about it. It can be as easy or as intensive as you choose to let it get. But don't let the excuse of hard work get in your way.

Monday, July 19, 2010


When we first purchased this home it needed a lot of landscaping. We spent the first year removing trash, debris, half dead, dead and
unwanted plant material. Every summer about this time I whine a bit about how it seems like things have not come very far. My husband always reminds me of the physical tasks we have done for the season. When the computer went down we had to reload all of our photos and came across the one above. Compared to today. We really have come a long way! I am reminded that real progress takes time and that a tree is not grown in a day.

There is certainly still a lot of work to be done and it is easy to get discouraged when the progress must be measured in years instead of weeks. I suppose what I really want to say is, stick with it!