Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's Alive!

Yesterday, I dug into my compost bin, to remove the first annual batch of lewlew's green garden gourmet compost. Rock on, it was a rich, dark brown. It had humongous earthworms crawling around in it (how they got in there is a mystery; the bin has a plastic bottom). It smelled good-- this earthy, organic good. I spread a thin layer over my veggie garden plot, and I'll be adding more when I add more topsoil to the plot.

Stop here-- I didn't mention that I finished the wall, did I? If you scroll down to the bottom of the blog, my April 17th entry "I want to be successful at feeding my family without dependance on stores" (my permalink is hidden right now-- I don't know why) details the brick purchase Lew made for me. I built the wall, and Lew helped me curve the wall into the hillside, add landscaping fabric to the backside of the wall, and fill and flatten the dirt. We're almost ready to plant-- yay.

So, my composting attempt worked. This is the first time I've made compost before, and the process is amazing. How old coffee grounds, tea bags, wood chips, vegetable peelings and cardboard (toilet paper tubes and egg cartons were the major source) turns into nutritious soil is such a cool, incredible blessing.

I also spread some around my southern flower bed, digging it into the first few inches of dirt. I tried to keep it from being right up next to the plant, to keep it from burning it. I'll post how things go.

11 Comments:

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Debra said...

Way to go! I've tried composting several times, but it just kind of sits there and dries out. :P Very cool!

 
At 3:28 AM, Blogger Morrigan said...

Congrats! I am just starting on a compost experiment, I hope that I am as successful.

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger lewlew said...

Hi debra and morrigan!

I also started composting several times, and then stopped. What I did this time is I didn't worry about being anal about it (this was the main culprit in the demise of my former attempts, I wasn't going "by the book"). I didn't worry that I didn't have grass to put in the pile (we have no lawn at this time). That's why I added so much plain, brown cardboard to the compost pile, because it made up for the lack of grass, along with other things I added to make up for the grass.

This time, I watered the pile once a week or so. If I missed a week, I didn't sweat it. If it looked extra dry, I'd add a little more water. I usually used about 2 1/2 gallons of water when I did water the pile.

Also, I used a broken rake handle to poke holes in the pile, after I turned it, so it could have more ventilation.

I stopped adding material to the pile in October, so it could cook over the winter. It's gotten to me-- I felt so wasteful during the winter months, because I didn't have another pile ready to add stuff to. I should have one ready this year, so I can alternate them.

Good luck with your experiment morrigan. If you have any questions I'd be happy to help if I can.

 
At 8:12 AM, Anonymous sunni said...

Your composting experience is very similar to mine—obsessing over it just doesn't seem to work. I didn't use a container, though, and made sure to stir some soil into the mix whenever I turned it; that seemed to help a lot. And cardboard in your compost? Gonna hafta try that.

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Mark said...

My wife says, "Send me the worms!" She's a serious fisherman and, here on our lake, worms seem to be the best bait.

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger Taran Jordan (Lightning) said...

Good goin', lewlew! It's amazing how something so simple and natural c`an leave you giddy with excitement, ain't it? ;-)

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger lewlew said...

She can have some, Mark =). I have to admit, though, that I liberated some nightcrawlers from the fishing scene last weekend, when we took my niece and nephew fishing.

Now, I didn't rip them off. A fisherman forgot his nightcrawler container when he left. We waited for him to come back, and he didn't, so we used a few of them to fish with (we got skunked), and the rest I took home and put in my garden.

Sunni-- the cardboard is high in the same nutrient grass supplies to compost. Is it nitrogen? I have a list I use that has good carbon elements and good nitrogen sources, and I'd try and add more of the ones that need to be in the pile in greater quantity. I'll have to dig my list out and see what the percentage is. Again, I'd just guesstimate what was close and go with it =).

Hi Lightning! Giddy? I guess that's the right word =). I'm amazed I did something that worked, and it feels pretty damn good.

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger Gospazha said...

Now I'm inspired to get into composting for next year's season.

Cardboard is good because of the cellulose (also in grass clippings) which is high in carbon. I also read cardboard, or any other paper bedding layer, is good because it helps provide aeration.

And by the way, you gifted me some three or four worms with the plants you gave me. :)

 
At 11:09 AM, Anonymous sunni said...

Hmm. Interesting. I recall reading that fireplace ashes can be added to compost too, but judiciously. Does your list say anything about that? (I really ought not be so lazy about online research, but nothing tops The Voice[s] of Experience.)

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger lewlew said...

I haven't dug out my list yet, but here's some information on wood ashes in compost piles. I hope this helps. It's a pretty good list, but not as comprehensive as the one I found last year.

Gospazha-- cool! I bet they're very happy in their new home.

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous sunni said...

Thanks, Lewlew!

 

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