Turning Compost

October 5, 2009 at 4:01 pm (Composting)

DSC00120Another catch up post. Word is we will have a cold winter. My tomato plants are already dying from the low midnight temperatures (low 40’s), but perhaps we can expect more water this year? Rain water really spurs plant growth, and my spinach, kale, and beet plants do find in high-30’s weather. As said before, the bottleneck in production has been lack of fertilizer. During summer composting really slows down as heap piles dry up under the hot sun. It’s important to keep you compost piled covered, moist, and hot. In order to facilitate more optimal conditions, I occasionally hose the compost down, mixing in wet table scraps. Bunny droppings are mostly dry and, though always welcome, do not help in this regard.

DSC00122To the right are some pictures of my compost bin earlier this summer when I disappointedly  found only the very bottom had converted to soil. Notice the stark sedimentation. My bin is divided in two, so I removed the partition (which slides in and out) , got a shovel, and turned the heap over, racking off the soil at the bottom and adding it to my new crop rows. Turning over your compost is important and accelerates decomposition since the organic matter at the top decays very slowly compared to when it sits at the bottom.

DSC00131However, I have a new development in my compost pile. My food scraps (which had some unintentional chicken skin/juice mixed in) attracted some strange flies. I know have a ton of grotesque larva in the bin, and it will be interesting to see what crawls out. I hope they are moth larva. This is when a chicken would come in handy. These grubs are rather large and would make a great meal for any birdie. Meanwhile, I can look at the ‘up’ side. The grubs are helping with the compost, eating organic matter, digesting, and eliminating. Eventually they will grow up and leave the bin. I will add a pix of the grubs at this same post later. I will also update readers what these gross critters metamorphed into.



  1. Barry Brown said,

    I find that my compost turns out better when I add straw, doesn’t matter if it is wheat, oat, or rye, the straw simply helps compost not become compacted as well as adding more carbon. Though I live in the country (Switzerland County in southeastern Indiana)making lots of compost is difficult as I refuse to go along with N.A.I.S. and so have no large animals. Since I have a three acre field I simply rotate my garden patches around in the field allowing me to give more fallow time than would be possible in a town garden. Enjoy your blogs. I am an Episcopalian who simply has to ignore the General Convention to keep my sanity-what are those people on? Too much champagne, happy pills, or just general goofiness? Anyway, keep writing.
    Barry Brown

    • Charles said,

      God Bless you Barry! I know many good and faithful Episcopalians in TEC. I entered Anglicanism via a different tradition (conservative Presbyterianism). Though I am in the Continuum, I cannot turn my back on those who remain in TEC. I think there are many things lay people can still do and remain optimistic.

      Meanwhile, you are very right about straw. I have a pile of hay that became my second compost pile during the winter rains. It decomposed much faster than my pile of fine grass clippings/bunny drops. I am wondering if there is something to letting compost breathe? I suppose this is one reason are to turn compost over from time to time? Straw seems to not only give the earth fiber but prevent hard clay from forming.

      That’s so awesome you own 3-arcres. I am gardening on two separate lots to equal maybe 1/16th of an acre. So, it’s mostly for fun; though I’ve had a constant supply of kale, beats, and spinach. Like I continue to tell many, I grow weeds (the easiest veggies). Before spring I hope to lay a cement foundation for a chicken coop plus expand the garden. Since I’ve had so much luck with straw and chips turning to soil, I probably will strart pruning trees to grind the branches up. Good stuff.

      Good to hear from you Barry. Keep the faith, and try to network with Anglicans on the outside and inside of TEC. That might come in handy down the road.

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