Tag Archives: compost

compost, hate, and apologies. oh my !

it feels like a very bad dream where the things you want most not to happen do happen.  how did i and we get here ?  how do we wake up ?  if you have been here a few times you know i strongly believe in the value of compost.  what some people would throw away is the most valuable.  compost enriches the garden and brings forth good things.  rather than dance around the elephant in the room i will come right out and say it.  there are no shit hole countries.  i think there are many many many people who along with me did not say the contrary and yet like myself will apologize for this sad unspeakable event.  i am sorry.  we are sorry.  great happenings, great people come from unexpected places.  if you do not believe me ask a son of Kenya.  i could go on except i will opt to keep things simple.  great things do not come from hate.  i am very very sorry.  i will close with an equally embarrassed flower.



the compost bin was empty.  all of the finished compost is tucked away in a single bin.  first it too was emptied.  encroaching tree roots were cut out.  i just share for a little while.  the tree got its share.  now the rest is for the garden.  and the other compost bin is starting all over.  the yard waste is now starting to fill the bin again.  and the twenty or so containers of yard waste have been emptied.  a good compost bin never stays empty very long.  and while all this was going on i noticed a few of the daylily seeds are poking their heads above grown.  little green leaves are reaching for the sky.  how did that wild west cliche get in here ! ? !  anyway here is tonight’s flower.  three images…


working in the garden means working with dirt.  when a plant comes to the garden it does not just get planted.  our soil is what i have come to call urban land fill.  when we first moved here i thought it was clay.  and part of it is.  there is also a layer above the clay that contains all sorts of things.  not quite ancient archeology things.  slightly more recent things and they are covered with another layer of clay.  over the years the things have been removed.  all sorts of metal, brick, glass, and other odd junk.  so the hole is dug.  junk removed.  and soil amendments added.  some of the original soil goes back in minus the junk.  after all clay itself is very good for holding soil nutrients.  a couple shovels full of peat moss and a couple of compost.  the compost is grown right here.  and the grapehoe is a great tool for emptying and turning the compost pile.  between the shovel and the grapehoe there are two items that figure into the cherished objects.  without them the gardening, the dirt would not get done.  dirt, that figures in too.  and plants like Ballad of a Thin Man would not grow quite so well.  four images plants and tools…

shovel and grapehoe 20160730_104435 Ballad of a Thin Man 20160730_105726 det Ballad of a Thin Man 20160730_105726 macro

Ballad of a Thin Man

Ballad of a Thin Man

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

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

moving day

Today was moving day.  Empty the compost pile – and make room for more yard waste.  Move the finished compost to the holding bin.

moving compost

Empty one of the evaluation beds.  And start moving the 2011 evaluation plants into the newly emptied bed.

empty evaluation bed 2013

And now continue to catch up on the pictures from this summer.  Now that I have found this picture I will need to find the plant.  It is now on the list to move to the evaluation bed.

11-082 Webster Seedling x (09-009 South Seas x Highland Pinched Fingers) det

Weaving Black Gold

Rumpelstiltskin is off the hook on this one.  Black gold is easy if you have a bit of patience.  Black gold is to be found in the garden.  More specifically in the compost heap.  Then to be most carefully hidden in the garden.

This is a compost heap.   Or at least the start of one.   A layer of green ( fresh ) and brown ( dried ) plant matter about one foot deep.  On top of that will go a layer of dirt.  Then repeat.

Eventually it will reach about 4 to 5 feet high.  Plant matter, a little dirt, and a lid to keep it from getting too wet.  Like this…

Ready for cooking – no – actually already cooking.  Kitchen scraps, egg shells and coffee grounds can go in too.  No meat or dairy products though.  If you need the exercise you can turn the compost pile every two or three weeks.   If you are patient, have a little room, and have more important  garden tasks you can go for the slow burn.  Just let it sit till next spring.  Then you should get something that looks like this..

Settled down to half its original height this stuff is fully formed product of transmutation.  The molds, bacteria, bugs, and worms have all combined to work their magic to make a loose crumbly black gold that will give any soil a shot of nutrients and a dose of good texture .   Real soil is a complex living community.

Since it is fall and a whole new starter crop of fallen leaves are on their way, this bin will be emptied into the ‘vault’.  A holding coral of sorts.  Each fall planting will get a few scoops of compost mixed in the soil.  And the rest will be held for spring.

These are the vaults of a gold based economy that actually works.

Black gold – for garden use only.   Weave a little in your garden and watch the results.  And if an angry little man shows up …. remember…. Rumpelstiltskin !