Sunday, March 30, 2014

Composting, Gardening, and all that Jazz

As a disclaimer, I am no gardening expert.  I'm just a regular girl who gardens.  We've had a garden for about 8 years now.

I am part of a cooking group on FB where we share recipes and cooking tips.  Recently the subject of composting was brought up.  I know I've written about here before, but alas I can't find the post.  So, I thought I would go ahead and write a new one.  As most of you know, we plant a garden every year.  This winter, we did not do a winter garden because we decided we were going to expand the garden this spring.  Erik did work on that.  So we have a much larger area to work with.

So this picture was before we started planting.  This year, we had enough compost to cover the entire area.  We also added about 10-15 bags of steer maneur.  I mixed the first ten, and Erik decided we needed more.  I'm not sure how much more he added.  We also added an organic potting mix to only the areas that were getting planted.

I hope to have almost everything planted this next week.  It's just hard to get out to buy plants and seeds with Maddie being sick.  April 1 is usually when we plant.  Erik did start green beens and carrots a few weeks ago.

Onions are in the front, carrots along the sides of the path, and green beans along the wall where the wire fence is.  In the front is a herb garden.  That's Rosemary in the middle.

Moving on to Composting.  It's really very simple to do.  We bought a compost bin about two years ago.  It's the one on the right.  My friend, Pam, gave us the one on the left when she moved.  So, now we have two.  That one has trays in it.  We put everything in our composter:  egg shells, fruit peels, vegetable waste, paper towels (not those I used cleanser on), newspaper, coffee grounds, grass clippings, etc.  Do not put meat, bones, etc. in there. They will rot and it will not be pleasant.  Also, don't put anything with salt in the compost.  It will halt the breakdown of the compost.  The one on the right can be turned around to mix the compost.  That will need to be done every so often.  Maybe every two weeks, depending on weather.  The one of the left, will need to be turned with a shovel, I think...

I would strongly suggest getting a compost starter.  This is what we used.  We use it off and on through the year as well if we notice things aren't breaking down.  You will also need to monitor you compost for moisture.  It should be a little moist.  You can add water if you need to.

To get started, first purchase a bin.  You can build your own, if you wish.  I think you can get a big bin for around $80 at SAMs or Lowes.  I like the one we have on the right.  This is the first season we will be using the one on the left so I will see how I like it.  Next, just start adding stuff to it.  If you have grass, you might want to start with the clippings and add vegetable waste too.  Once you have some stuff in there, add the Compost Starter.  If it looks dry, add a little water.  I keep a little bin in the house to put vegetable waste, coffee grounds, etc in.

You can buy a bucket online, such as this, if you wish.  One day, I'll get around to getting one.  They are affordable.  About $30 or so.

So, there you have it.  That's a quick breakdown.  I hope you found it helpful, and it made sense. Ha.  I will continue to post about our garden throughout the year.  If anyone has any questions, let me know.

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