Friday, July 16, 2010

Gardening: Compost; the good, the bad and the ugly

Ahhhh.... Remember how pretty the garden was last month?

Well, by the end of July, the garden can look pretty rough, seriously. I am starting to get discouraged... but gardening is about change.

Look at this awful pea bed... I mean the peas were delicious but now the bed is an eye sore.

So my plan is to add zinnias to the bed, two rows every two weeks until the bed is full of blooms to cut.

To clear a bed, I follow some easy steps to ensure that the soil in the garden bed stays healthy. By healthy, I mean a good mixture of dirt, organic materials and the right PH. We will talk PH another day. However, adding organic material to the garden is very important. It adds essential nutrients to the soil, allowing the plants to be big and healthy. Organic material is also important for worms to be attracted to your garden.

One of the best and cheapest way to add organic material is to compost. You can purchase compost but I prefer to make my own compost.


Besides, I have these cute composters in the yard.

Lift the lid and add the materials.

So how do I compost. First, I add a layer of dry leaves and a couple of twigs. The twigs allow air to circulate in the first layer.

Next I add a layer of dry leaves and straw. This layer is usually called the brown layer.


Another source of brown layers is shredded newspaper.

Top with a layer of grass clippings, weeds and kitchen scraps, obviously the green layer.

This waste is black gold to compost... the worms love it... and you will love that you can take your trash out to the compost bin.

I try to add four parts of the brown layer to one part of the green layer. I also start the compost with bone meal and a scoop of garden soil. I am also adament that every worm I find, I drop into the compost bin.

Water the composters, once a week with a pitcher of water and turn my compost pile every week or two.. it should be at a temperature of 140 degrees.

Compost is Black gold to a garden. Like gas in your car will keep you car running, compost will keep your garden fertile and producing lots of these.


  1. The little house/composter --what are the dimensions? I would love plans for it --it is so cute and would be great in my area!

  2. I am so impressed that you make compost. My husband and I have talked about it, but haven't started yet. He does add all the grass clippings to the veggie garden. I am going to have to check and see where you live. I would love to replant more zinnias, but don't know if I have enough growing time left.

    Great post!


  3. I guess I need to be more careful about my compost. I just throw stuff into it whenever. I haven't turned it in awhile because the weeds have grown up around it!

  4. Amy,

    I bought the little compost house at Gardener's Supply.



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