Starting a Garden Part 1… and a Half

Compost Pile

Compost Pile

Composting for Dummies…

To get the good dirt in our garden, we need to have some way of getting the good dirt into the garden. When you start turning the soil over, the dirt is hard and usually pretty light colored. One way of getting more nutrients into the soil is by adding compost. What compost is, is vegetables and weeds, grass and leaves. Stuff that we don’t want and usually the city won’t take away. It is very hard for me to bag up these type of things for the garbage to eventually fill landfills. I am taking all of the nutrients out of the soil and sending them somewhere else. Why can’t I harness this goodness and put it to use? Well, we can. What I started doing, several years ago, is storing leaves and grass behind my shed. This way, I can let it rot and not have to look at it. Every once in a while I will go back there and rake it and turn it over. By now it is a nice dark, moist soil that will make everything in the garden wonderful! Some people use left over vegetables and stuff from dinner. I wouldn’t recommend using meat products though, may attract animals and other undesirables…

To get a good compost you will need materials and time and effort. It needs to be compact, but not so much that there is no air. It should be able to get air to start decomposing. Then you turn it over and mix it up to get more air into the mix. Bacteria, fungus and worms will work their magic on this pile of refuse until it is ready to make your garden green. Mulching the larger stuff will also help speed up the process.

Steps for a good compost:

  1. get a lot of yard waste and dinner leftovers and put them in a pile. (mulch the larger stuff)
  2. Keep it wet and dark
  3. Turn frequently to add air
  4. mix up and spread on garden!

It’s that easy. You can buy compost machines or build bins, but I like to just make a pile.

Remember though, if you pile is next to a neighbors house, ask permission before starting. They may not appreciate the smell and look of a compost pile as much as you do! Thanks to the www.KitchenGardeners.org for this video. It is not like watching NASCAR, but it has a lot of good information! (It looks like he is talking at the beginning, but bear with it!)