Composting

We think this is a pumpkin growing out of last year's compost bin. We threw some hay on the top to keep down the sprouting weeds.
A pumpkin growing out of last year’s compost bin. We threw some hay on the top to keep down the sprouting weeds.

COMPOSTING

Composting PDF

We had a long discussion on composting at the last garden meeting. It seems that everyone has a little different method of disposing of their food scraps. The good news is that there is no “right” way. Choose a method that works well for you and your lifestyle.

Paul and Pam compost most of their kitchen waste in their worm bins. Vermicomposting can be done indoors in a small space. The compost/worm castings that the worms produce is a super nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used to side dress your crops. If you are interested in starting a worm bin, contact Joan O’Connor. Joan is the the famous “Worm Lady” selling her worms at the Concord Farmer’s Market. An excellent book to get you started is “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Applehof.

Most gardeners have one bin outdoors that they fill with a combination of kitchen scraps, grass clippings, yard waste and fallen leaves. One gardener keeps a pile of leaves near the compost bin and throws in leaves whenever things start getting a little slimy. Some gardeners turn often, others address the pile once or twice a year. There are resources galore on the web. Just google “Composting” .

We use what I call the “Lazy Gardeners Composting System”. We have three large bins about 3′ x 4′ side by side. They are made with chicken wire and metal stakes. We have hidden them behind a stockade fence because they are not pretty! Here is how it works…

-Year One: We completely fill one bin all year long with kitchen scraps, yard waste, leaves,etc.. We pay no attention to layering or turning. We just chuck it all in.

-Year Two: Repeat as for year one but use second bin.

-Year Three: Repeat as for year one but use third bin.

-Year Four: The bin from Year One is now beautiful compost! We dig it out and sift it through a screen and incorporate it into our garden. Any material that did not decompose is the start of the new bin that we just emptied.

For sure…the “Lazy” method does require patience, but not having to turn a pile or worry about proper layering makes it worth the wait!

Rest assured, whatever method or system or product you decide to use, there is no one, perfect way to compost. Compost happens. That’s all you need to know so get started today!


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