Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Compostaphile or Compostaphobe... To rot or not to rot...


It is the time of year to trim back the plants and getting the garden ready for spring. I am filling up the compost bin...



I could not do without a Compost!! ...
I remember when we were stationed in Germany renting an apartment with a German family, I could not help myself but had to ask if I were allowed to add my kitchen waste to their compost. I grew up with a compost and rainwater barrels and can't imagine living without them. I sure fall into the Compostaphile group ;-)


Composting, the benefits are obvious, reduces waste in the landfills and creates organic soil for your garden. It is so very simple, just mind a few rules and Nature does the rest.


By the way, a healthy compost pile does not stink! Still, it does not look very attractive, so we placed ours at the side of the house, in the 'utility area'  with the firewood storage and an extra rainwater barrel.




We have two bins, they are 3 ft x 3 ft and 3 ft high. We used PVC picket fence pieces, attached to PVC fence posts with the front part removable to easy access when turning the compost. (Don't mind the extra fence pieces laying in the front bin, I just did not know where to keep them for the moment ;) )


Hubby turns the compost 4 times a year and each time we get at least two 28 gallon nursery posts filled with wonderful  and perfect compost soil. Just the right amount for my little Myrtle Glen.






This post is about my experience composting in a suburban neighborhood on a 1/4 acre lot. Composting on a farm is a different story ;)

For anyone just starting out with composting, here are some things to keep in mind:


  • You don't just want kitchen waste on it, but green stuff, like grass and hedge clippings, leaves (best when shredded), spent flowers, used potting soil, etc.

  • Whenever you fertilize your garden, give some to the compost pile as well.

  • When you water, water the compost pile as well. (We have a sprinkler head set up by it)

  • Don’t just make a mound, this will let the water run-off, but build it like a volcano, with a 'dish' in the center.

  • When you find earthworms in it, great!! 

  • When you find ants in it that is great as well.

You do want to add:


  • Crushed egg shells (they are great, adding calcium)

  • Used coffee grounds, incl. filter paper, and tea bags

  • Old brewed coffee and tea

  • Veggie peels

  • Fruit peels, cores, etc.

  • Small branches, cut in short sections, those help air circulation

  • Newspaper and kitchen paper, torn up

  • Hair, from dogs and humans

  • Fertilizer

  • Water

You do NOT want to add:


  • Anything cooked (pasta, potatoes, gravy), and nothing from an animal (meats, milk, yogurt)

  • Weeds from your yard, since the average garden compost (3 ft x 3 ft) will not generate enough heat (cold composting method) to kill the weed seeds. spreading the compost later on will just have the weed seeds pop up everywhere 

  • Branches that are too thick to be cut with garden clippers

  • Pesticides, or weed killers

  • Animal feces


Happy Composting Everyone!





9 comments:

  1. Great post! I teach compost class, and one of the misconceptions about composting is that it smells. I prove it to them by passing around some compost...they are always surprised that it smells so nice and earthy.

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  2. Welcome to Blotanical.
    I liked your blog, it's very informative, nice photos.
    I think compost is useful for a garden.
    We've a lot of snow here.
    Visit my in return
    http://northern-garden.blogspot.com/

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  3. Oh dear, I'm a compostaphile too. Like your lists of what's compostable and what isn't. Very useful.

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  4. Lovely (com)post! Sorry, I just had to use that pun.

    I'm definitely a member of the Compostphile Club.
    I have often thought that my compost pile is very much my favorite part of the garden. At least it is the closest thing we get to something for nothing. FREE compost....it's like a great bank account with interest added all the time.
    David/:0)

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  5. Great post on composting! Your compost pile is about as attractive as any I have ever seen! I must talk to my hubby and see what he thinks about putting a picket fence around ours.

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  6. I love the smell of compost, people laugh at me but the smell of soil is I'm sure why I love gardening so much! Thanks for dropping by, Alison

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  7. Great blog really enjoyed reading.... :-)

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  8. I am like you and could not garden without composting. I do like the bins you created. Mine are just hugh black, tree pots from the nursery. They have large holes in them which makes them great for composting. They are rather ugly, but were adaptively reused rather than discarded like what usually happens to them.

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  9. Your compost bins are too pretty! :) I finally made a compost bin last year and am finding it very useful. After this, I will be sure to add fertiliser as well.

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