Saturday, December 29, 2012
#5 - 13 in 13 - Composting
Composting is the most important part of any gardening endever. It is magical. Ok bad description of what Compost really is. It is Mother Nature's way of taking what most would consider waste, and reobsorbing it into itself, and turning it into soil that is alive. Any orgainc matter that was once alive, will break down or decompose into Compost. Leaves, newspaper, and kitchen scraps to name a few things. Compost happens on its own really. If you leave a pile of leaves in the corner of your yard, it will decompose eventually.
Making Compost can be as simple as piling up leaves and grass clippings, and then forgetting about it. Or it can be something you consciously think about and design. For example, the picture above shows two Compost piles I started. The one on the right I started in the Fall of 2011. I just piled up leaves, grass clippings and top soil. It is now December 2012. And so, it has been breaking down for over a year now. The pile on the left was mainly started in October, with a mixture of leaves, grass, top soil and remnants from the summer garden (tomato plants, pepper plants, etc.). I filled it up to the beginning of the white part of the "T-post". As you can see, it is already almost half way down.
I used 6 "T-posts" and wire mesh to construct my Compost Bin. I took the cheap route, probably cost around 50 dollars. I wanted there to be enough surface space for oxygen to penetrate the material breaking down.
The picture above shows a hand full of the Compost from the pile on the right. You can see how black it is, what people call black gold in soil amendments. I believe that by Spring, it will be ready. I forgot to mention that water is important to the breaking down of the materials. You need to keep the pile moist so that the microbials can do their job. Or else the breaking down will stop. Once the materials in your Compost pile are unrecognizable, your Compost is ready to use.
A better example of putting together a Compost can be found at Ecology Actions' website. I don't have the videos here because I want you to check them out and see what Bio-Intensive Gardening is all about.
The picture above shows bags of leaves I've collected from other people. Thses bags are destined to go to the landfill. I consider that a huge waste of a resource. I just drive around sometimes and look to see who has bagged their leaves. I stop and pick-up these bags and say "Thank you Zombies"! Because clearly they are still "Conected to the Matrix", and are producing nothing for themselves. Sorry, now I'm going into a rant. Anyway the bags of leaves will go into my Compost making here at the "Home" and at the "Homestead".
Again I can not state the importance of Composting. If you want to build your soil, and you need to, then learn this skill. You wont need any other fertilizer, unless you want to use Seaweed and Liquid Fish.The minute I can apply this amendment to my Garden in Spring, I will consider this skill complete for my 13 in 13.
On a side note...Soundgarden is back! Love this new album. I recommend this album if you are a fan of this band. I consider Chris Cornell to be one of the best vocalist around.