Compost, part 1

Compost may be one of the least used assets in many urban gardens. I love the smell of my working compost pile, that rich aroma of decomposing yard waste and kitchen scraps. It costs me nothing more than the time it takes to collect and turn the pile, and it has converted my clay filled soil into dark, rich loveliness.

One of my first yard projects was replacing the 6 foot privacy fence with 4 foot slated fencing. My brother-in-law made quick work of the project, and he used some of the old fencing to make a compost bin. It fit perfectly to one side of my shed, giving me easy access to turn the pile and move it to the wheelbarrow for spreading on my garden beds. I prefer the open top – water is a key part of the chemical breakdown so the naturally falling snow, rain, etc. are more freebies.

0830_Compost01bI take a simple approach with my compost. I’m not overly fussy about the ratio of browns to greens – the average household should naturally be balanced. Sometimes I clip branches and vines into smaller pieces, sometimes I don’t. I turn on my pile on an irregular basis, leaving the worms and insects to do the majority of the work. I’m always fascinated to find the lovely, rich compost at the bottom of the pile.

With fall quickly approaching you’ll soon have an abundance of leaves in your yard. Now is the perfect time to select a location and set up a bin for the free yard waste that will enrich your garden soil next spring.


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