Search This Blog

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Compost Maker's Tale

Today rose from its bed beautiful and sunny and raring to go, so I got outside as soon as I could (11:30!) to get cracking on a list of stuff I wanted to get done today.

This was my list:

take plastic off bed
move the compost pile
cut decking into 12' and 3' pieces
hoe the river rock out of where the new bed will go
build the third bed from the old bed
move the soil from the old bed to the third bed

This is what I got done today:

move the compost pile

Actually what I did was move a compost/garbage pile, because I didn't turn my compost all winter long, it being wet and cold out there.  But I kept adding kitchen scraps to it religiously, which is why part of the pile was fine, and part of the pile was foul.  Had a little anaerobic rot going on there, which is not good for a compost pile.

I think that next year I'll pile and cover the leaves we get from the sweet gum and let those stay dry all winter, and then use them to mix with grass and kitchen scraps in the spring, summer, and autumn so that it'll have the proper ratios and mix.  I also think I'm going to invest one way or the other in a worm bin for kitchen scraps throughout the winter, so that I don't have to walk them out in all weather to the compost pile.

Part of what took me so long to get the pile moved was mixing in partially decomposed bark mulch from the back of the yard with it, so that it would have a better texture and be somewhat inoculated with something that was decomposing correctly.  I discovered that everywhere, everywhere, where there is not lawn in our yards, both front and back, the previous owner covered in black plastic and mulched it with bark.  Which is decomposing well and growing weeds nicely, but you can't dig the nice mulch in because of the cursed plastic all over the place.   Curse you, Randy, curse you!!!

So to remedy the situation, I've decide to hoe all the bark off the plastic and use it in my beds and compost, and then pull up all the plastic.  Then I'll cover everything with the huge stack of cardboard in the kitchen (with some from the garage) and then bark over that again.  That way, when the new bark finally gives up the ghost, I can dig it into the soil with the now decomposed cardboard, and then do the whole cardboard and bark thing again.  I figure that this will be the best path material and method for in between the vegetable beds, because let's face it, I'm going to drop soil in the paths.  If they had decomposed granite or pea gravel in them, both of which I love for walking on, it would just make a mess.  Cardboard and bark will be better, because then when it's growing weeds better than anything else, I'll just scoop it up, add it to the compost pile, and put down more cardboard and bark.

In the meantime, I still have another compost pile to move tomorrow.  And finish up the stuff on my list.

No comments: