Saturday, June 19, 2010

Using the Precious Compost

As the planting of seedlings progresses, Farmer Man has started to make good use of last years' compost pile. As he plants each tomato, a scoop of compost goes in the bottom of the hole. He's done the same with some of the 'heavy feeders' like peppers. A little went in the pot with each sweet potato cutting. We don't have a lot, so we use it carefully! Admittedly, adding the chickens has certainly increased the size of the compost pile, but there is never enough. We compost in piles, that get turned and 'shredded' by the tractor - we're doing things on a slightly bigger scale then the average home gardener. We do end up with sticks and chunky things, so Farmer Man devised a screen from an old bed frame found in the barn and some chicken wire. How to recyle, upcycle and reuse, Farmer Man! Love that! Once planting is done, we'll divvy up the remaining compost in different areas (some for my shrub and perennial borders, some for the perennial crops like asparagus and rhubarb, I hope). We don't really fertilize around here, except for the occasional dose of fish meal, liquid kelp and alfalfa meal. We rely on our soil being healthy: leaving crop residues on in the fall (to prevent soil erosion, as well), tilling them under in the spring, adding what compost we have. That's what being sustainable is all about, isn't it? Using what you've got!


  1. To put perspective to it, forest thrives not on some man made fertilizer. Its about the system of sustainability. Decomposition and natural composting in forest is enough to feed all trees.

  2. Exactly, Bangchik! We 'clean' up too well, and disturb the soil too much. Farmer Man and I still struggle with the issue of tilling the soil, we till too much, but it is the best way for us to keep weeds down in the crops.

  3. I bought a bag of composted manure to spread on my garden this year because it is our first year cultivating it and it will take awhile before the nutrients are where they need to be to support our crops. Hoping to get at least a halfway decent crop out of it. Our compost pile is just getting started so I'm hoping to use that next year. Too bad you can't put chicken poo straight on the garden!

    Have you done much with green manures like clover? I'm thinking of trying that to help a bit as well. That and our geese. They're good manure spreaders as well as weeders...if only we can keep them alive.