Category Archives: compost

the other cycle

not just the cycle of seasons. there is also the cycle of materials through the garden. spent plants, weeds, and vegetable scraps from the kitchen all go into the compost pile. they accumulate and age for about a year. microbes, worms, and insects do their part to break down the materials. aside from a few sticks and walnut shells what is left is clean compost. the shells and sticks go back into the next pile. and the compost goes into the garden for new plants…

clean up

today was a half way decent day for clean up.  cloudy, dry, cool, and not much wind.  some more plants were trimmed down for winter.  and for a few moments the third compost pile was empty.  which also means the finished compost storage bin is nearly full.  the other two compost bins are full of yard waste.  and three trash cans of yard waste are now filling the one that was emptied.  next summer the finished compost will be used for plantings and the cycle will continue.  and i completed my garden exercise program for the day.

16-100 11-082 Webster Seedling x (09-009 South Seas x Highland Pinched Fingers) x Lullaby Of Birdland

16-115 Highland Pinched Fingers x Thais

the dirt on next summer

on every summer.  that is the compost pile.  it is an assist to nature’s way of reusing what some of us would throw away.  waste not.  the leaves and garden scraps do not go out in the trash.  they go into the compost and eventually back into the garden.  soil is an organic fabric that should be constantly renewed.  when it is renewed soil is enriched.  and the fabric is a deep and complex brocade.  like the upturned bird bath covered in snow and resembling a mushroom –  what we so often see as waste and rot is only half of the story.  yes things come apart.  and what has come apart is part of the building blocks of what is to come.  seven images…

16-0629-001 purple dip ufo

16-0629-001 purple dip ufo



well fed

this time of year tends to make one well fed.   and caution is advised.  the garden will be well fed in the spring as replanting occurs.  seen is the compost pile in spring, mid summer, and fall.  the first three to the left are working piles.  add a layer of plant matter about 12 inches deep 30.48 cm.  with a layer of dirt on top.   about one inch or up to six inches deep of dirt,  depending on how much time you have to keep things moving.  keep it barely damp and age for 9 to 12 months.  empty as needed.  it is good exercise.  and the finished product is at the far right.  it is great for planting.  it is also one component of keeping a place for a more natural balance of bugs in the garden.  we use compost, organic fertilizer, and companion plantings and natural predators here.  we do not use artificial fertilizers, or pesticides.  the lawn gets sunlight, rain, and a high cutting to minimize the growth of weeds  and little else.  it is not all grass by any measure.  there is a mix of clover and what others might call weeds.  to me it is a more balanced lawn.  and it is just green mulch to hold the soil in place until it can be changed to active garden.  let’s just say it is at least close to half garden.  the lawn here is meant to be a pathway – not a putting green.  or to put it dirt simple, more time in the garden and less time cutting the lawn.  four images…

moving-compost spring compost pile IMG_1386 grdn summer img_5785 compost fall grdn13-000-img_1413 det

double whites

a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  each year some of the seedling beds get reworked.  it is a three year cycle.  old plants come out and the soil prepared for a new crop.  i try to put in what will reasonably fit and still allow me to walk between the rows.  and to plant about the same amount of seeds each year.  so there is a pathway next to each four foot wide bed.  it cuts down on some of the weeding and lets me know the border of each bed.  it makes it difficult to sneak in an extra row of seeds.  and it makes it easy later to walk in the garden, because that extra row of seeds in not in the way.  it is a matter of striking a balance between too much and too little.  once those seeds grow those beds will not look empty at all.  now for something that snuck into the daylily seed beds.  columbines self seed.  are they tossed by drying seed pods, birds, or the wind ?  or do they ride in with the fresh compost ?  what ever the mode of travel this one is growing next to a third year seedling.  this fall both the columbine and the seedling will be moved.  it is a double.  there is and extra set of petals around the pistil and stamens.  strangely the number of spurs do not double.  enjoy !  four images…

seedling bed reworked double white columbine IMG_7417


double white columbine IMG_7417 det double white columbine IMG_7417 macro

it is dark, come in from the garden . . .

this year’s seedling bed is getting closer and closer to being ready to plant.   all of the old plants are moved out.  lots of weeds and tree roots have been ejected.  and the damp soil is step by step getting drier and being groomed free ( or nearly so ) of weeds so that the seeds will have a fighting chance.  as mentioned before the garden is mostly organic so the only weed killer applied is the two legged variety carrying a hoe.  it is not always pretty, and it is never completely weed free, still it works.  and it makes for good compost and better soil texture.  and most years there are more than enough daylily seedlings to keep me busy in the garden.  now to rustle up a picture or two…

some of these will become apples.  and some will not…

apple after the blossom macro  apple after the blossom det

in the garden

This afternoon there was time to finish emptying the compost pile.   The compost and soil went into the holding bin.  It will be spread around the garden next spring.  The empty compost bin got a few minor repairs and will soon be ready for a fresh supply of garden waste, raked up autumn leaves and what ever vegetative matter becomes available.   For me that list of available matter includes sticks, twigs, and even larger branches.  Most composting guides do not recommend wood and branches.  The reason is the decaying wood grabs up available nitrogen.   Most of the twigs and branches here are dead falls from the trees.  They are half rotted already and compost fairly quickly.  The larger sticks and branches get tossed back into this year’s new compost pile.  They server to inoculate the new compost pile along with a dose of the freshly harvested compost.  This method may not work every where.  Composting does vary by climate and soils.  However this method works for me in my garden.  Soil is a rich complex living colony of many many organisms.   And the decomposing branches add to the complexity.  Reading about the GMO industry after working with rich organic soil is a study in opposites.  A very disturbing one.  The quality of our water, soil, and air is something we should never take for granted.   Here is a picture of a twisted plant.  Except this one is twisted naturally.   Not by poisons in the soil.  It is a clump of Talon bloom scapes.  Something that is twisted yet safe to enjoy.  And if you missed the reblog of the-fight-of-our-lives from Day by Day the Farm Girl Way please check it out.   There may be a good use of GMOs but what they are doing today to our agriculture is not it.


talon clump det 001

Starman and dark secrets

This is another seedling that bloomed for the first time.  It is a cross of Starman’s Quest and Walking the Pattern.  Starman’s Quest is a nice light purple flower with a dark purple eye zone.  Walking the Pattern is an all yellow flower that has Orchid Corsage in its genetic history.   More lavender, or light purple for anyone looking at the color history here.

This is the seedling.  I am suspecting that some of  the branch might come  from Walking the Pattern.  I will have to wait and look at Starman’s Quest later this summer to get a better idea on that.

sq wtp det

A bit of the branching on this seedling.

brnch sq wtp det

My darkest deepest secret…  the compost pile.  If you have read the about page you would see that organic is what we generally work at here in the garden.   Each daylily and even some of the other plants get a dose of compost when they are planted.  And as we weed and clean the yard the plants all go into the compost to enrich the soil.  The garden starts with the living dirt. And dirt is a misleading word.  It is more of a miniature forest of life.   All sorts of organisms creating a fabric that is unique to each location and micro environment.  Can you hug dirt ?

compost det