Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don’t Forget to Feed the Garden


My Summer garden, which seconds as a winter compost pit
So two days ago, as I was digging around in the garden I found my soil cultivator. It is supposed to be a 3-pronged metal hand tool with a green plastic handle. However, my garden has been digesting it for a while. About a year and a half ago I was out turning the compost in the pit I call my summer garden. For some reason I felt the need to have my cultivator to help me turn the leaves in the compost. I remember I had completed my project for the night in the unfinished compost and so I began looking around at my tools. I had my shovel, my rake, and… where was the cultivator? After searching a while for it I realized I had left it in the ground. I dug around for it and have made attempts to find it previously. Over time I had given up all hope of finding it– until yesterday. This is tangible proof that my garden gets hungry! Call the cultivator an iron supplement.

As an organic gardener I have come to the realization that my compost needs to be fed often. In order to make the most of my limited backyard space, each of my two gardens seconds as a compost pile in the off-season. For house compost, I dig a ditch and throw all the biodegradable goods in. Once each ditch is almost filled I cover it with soil. Then I dig another ditch for additional kitchen scraps. My wife calls them “offerings” to my garden – perhaps suggesting that I worship my garden- which I do not! I sometimes get bags of leaves or a pickup bed of manure to add to the mix and add bioactivity to the whole system. From time to time I productively expend energy and focus my frustrations by turning the compost. When a change in the season necessitates the use of the garden I am composting in, I finish covering all the compost in my garden bed then add a layer of some very finished compost or a mix of sifted dirt, vermiculite, and peat moss.

The cultivator  looked like the other  tools until the compost "digested" it


8 comments:

  1. That must be some potent compost! Looking forward to seeing what it does to your vegetables.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I used to put a lot of coffee grounds into my compost until I found that I couldn’t get the pH above 5! I had to add a lot of sifted native alkaline soil to that to get anything to grow in it. Since then I have eased up on the coffee grounds and now I am beginning to see worms! That is a big deal –considering where I live.

      Delete
  2. Wow having to add alkali to your soil in Arizona that is something else.lol I can send you all the alkali you will ever need.lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I appreciate the offer. I too have plenty right outside my garden. When my pH gets too low finely sift native soil into the garden and it helps to bring the pH back up to where it needs to go. People around here often look at me like there is something wrong with me when I tell them that my pH is too low. It is something that can happen if you plant in straight compost that contains components that are very acidic.

      Delete
  3. You have a fantastic blog. I am new into gardening and thus reading any vegetable gardening blogs, especially. I really like yours; already learnt a lot. A question: that free tomato seed website is not open to all the public,right? It says it's open only to readers of about.com. Is that correct. Also, I tried to be your follower, but the link is not working.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi KL. The tomato seed website is free to the public. Pretty hard to believe, isn’t it? Wintersown is a nonprofit that is, in my opinion, doing a whole lot of good. As for following my blog - perhaps there was a hiccup in the system as I was playing with it last night. Just try again – try the follow right above the members section - and let me know if the problem persists.

      Delete
  4. Wow! It's pretty impressive to see what compost can do!
    Do you have any trouble with animals getting into your food scraps before you can cover it with soil?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree.

      My main problem is with birds getting into bits of bread. I do not compost meat or dairy because this tends to attract undesirable vermin.

      Delete

Dear Gardening Friends,
I look forward to learning more about gardening with you. Your comments help me recognize that gardening is a life-long journey.

To advertisers: Note that this blog is concerned with gardening and gardening techniques. Please do not attempt to advertise here by leaving a comment. Depending upon how egregious the comment is, it may be deleted. I would prefer to have no advertising on this site at all, and am planning on removing all advertising in the future.