Monday, June 10, 2013


Something wicked is boiling in the pit! (6/03/13)
I had an early start this year to preparing the gardens. Unfortunately, that early start no longer seems so "early" and I am left needing to re-weed and return eh garden beds before planting any vegetables. I did, however, spend last evening tending to our compost pit, which in some way equates to gardening. Despite the appearance in the picture above, I had already weeded the nascent beds once, but as you can see, will need to do so again before formally kicking off my summer break gardening season.

Guess who didn't eat their green apple in tehir lunch last week. (6/03/13)
Currently, we use a Deluxe Pyramid Composter. The lid is hinged so you can open it with one hand, yet it can’t blow away though I use a brick to keep any prying critters from gaining entry. It is fairly large and surpassingly unassuming, holds nearly 12 cubic feet. A quick look inside revealed that it was time to turn over the cuttings in anticipation of using some fresh compost in the next few weeks. The interior did not just look unpromising, it was downright gross!

Coconut coire bricks + rainwater = satisfying garden experinece. (6/03/13)
Because there has not been many grass clippings to add to the composter in recent weeks, there is clearly a need to add some "greens" or, more specifically, "browns." Once the grass grows more fully, I should have more clippings to mix into the composter. Until then, we'll rely on the coconut coir bricks that my wife bought last year. Using the coir also gives me a chance to use the rain water recently collected in our rain barrel. It has been rainy of late and it is a satisfying exercise to use the rain water in tending our composting pit.

Mixing in the re-hydrated coir. (6/03/13)
Coir is the coarse fibers extracted from the outer shell of a coconut.  Last spring, my wife ordered a large box of "bricks." from an oknline garden store. By soaking the compressed bricks, they expand 5 to 7 times in volume. The intnetion is to use the carbon-rich coir to mainatin the approiate balance necessary fro compsointg nitrogen-rich kitchen scraps in the compost pile. Ideally, this also speeds up the composting process and improves the quality of the compost.

Niiiice! (6/03/13)
The dark, nutrient rich lower levels of the compost pit would seem to indicate that things are working rather well. I have done my best to turnover and add coir during the winter months, though other activities often get in the way.

If you were to explore any number of online gardening catalogs, you would find many bells-and-whistles available for purchase that are made to appear as though they are necessary for good composting. One such item would be the tabletop composter bags. We have a ceramic table top composter in our kitchen that we empty into the larger, outdoor compositor once or twice weekly. Ina n effort to make this transfer easier (and less messy), we purchased some decomposing bags.

Unfortunately, after two years of use, and multiple opportunities to pick them out of the compost heap, I have come to the conclusion that, despite the fact that these bags will decompose, the rate at which they do makes them more of a nuisance than a help. At this point the practice is this: when turning over the pit, I extract and collect the partially decompsing bags and dispose of them in the traditional waste basket. There, they can decompose slowly and not impair my ability to turn over the contents more easily.

Given the rich brown dirt, I am very excited to properly further prep and plant our vegetable gardens, an activity I look very forward to continuing in earnest this coming weekend.

1 comment:

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