Thursday, March 18, 2010

Composting in Suburbia

Any real gardener will be laughing out loud at this post. As well they should; we didn't do a single thing right with our compost pile. Even so, today I covered our vegetable garden area with rich, dark homemade compost! How did we do it?

Almost done spreading compost on the vegetable garden.

When we first moved here four years ago, Nick tore up a fair amount of our grass to make room for flower beds around the perimeter of our yard. He stacked the sod in a huge pile along the side of our house and called it "the compost pile". I wasn't convinced, though. Two years later it was still a huge pile of sod, hard as a rock and immovable. I knew that we'd have to get rid of this pile eventually if we ever planned to sell our house, so I got quotes from landscapers to find out how much it would cost to have it hauled it away. This pile is at least 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long, and the estimates were around $500. Um, I guess we'll just have to keep our unsightly dirt pile!

Last summer, I decided to buy in to the whole "compost" plan. I started burying kitchen scraps and garden debris in the pile (as deep as I could to avoid attracting pests). I didn't touch it all winter because it was frozen solid. Then, this week...after a few days of Colorado sunshine...I poked my shovel into the pile and found the most loose, rich, dark soil! The pile is crawling with fat, well-fed worms. They've been hard at work! There are NO kitchen scraps remaining - and I even added watermelon rinds!

I thought I'd share this story to let you know that you don't have to do everything perfectly to compost. We never turned the pile and certainly didn't make sure we had the right combination of ingredients. All we did was give it time and let nature do all the work.

Usually, I load up my car with bags of manure to add to the garden every Spring. This year, I just had to transport compost from the pile to the garden. Now, all those juicy worms are loosening up the soil in my garden and I can't wait to start planting!

The pile is nearly gone, so we intend to build a simple compost bin in its place. That will make it easier to turn and manage the pile for next year. Do you have a compost bin? Any suggestions?

No comments:

Post a Comment