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Friday, September 19, 2008

From Your Garbage Can To Your Garden Soil.

Today I am celebrating the 100th post of my blog! I somehow don't feel as happy about that as I thought I would, seems like just any other Friday! Maybe we will save the big celebration for back to business.

honeycats from nc left me a question the other day. She said:

"Tootsie, Glad your back, I am still thinking about you and praying that you have peace in whatever you may be going through. I was wondering do you compost. I have been looking at compost bins, those big things that you are suppose to turn everyday. The soil always looks good in the picture.If you do would you recommend getting one?Thanks for all your great tips and for always answering our questions no matter how silly they may sound."

Composting is a great way to feed your garden soil, and benefit your plants. It can be made up of fallen leaves, grass clippings, fallen fruit, aged flowers, manures, and kitchen organic leftovers such as peelings and rinds.
It is quite a big deal today to be a composter. It is a gardener's way of giving back to their garden. Many of us have purchased either a large or small compost bin at the local garden center that will fit our needs. Some of us don't even bother with the bin, we just use an out of the way corner of the yard...or we do both.

A few years back I got the big idea to compost. I read all the online information and bought a few books. I thought it would be a great idea. I ran out to the store and bought myself a compost bin.

I fed that bin faithfully all summer long. I stirred it and turned it and added the chemicals that were recommended to me by the manufacturer. ...and it smelled.

So....I added more and made the smell go away...and it smelled....

And then the flies came. And they reproduced.

So....I did more remedies and more chemicals, and more and more and more. I finally got the issues under control.....and thought it was going to be the greatest soil helper ever....after all isn't everything we make ourselves better than that which we can buy?


I kept adding to my composter....all spring, summer and fall....I even had a pile of grass clippings that I was composting. I figured I was "all that" I soon realized that I was NOT a good composter.

Over the winter, the mice moved into the compost bin, and used the grass pile as an insulated condo unit. Then there was the ants...oh yes...that 4 foot by two foot rectangle which was about 18 inches deep with "composting" grass leaves etc, looked like it was shaking. The ants were in there and they were MAD.

When we decided to get rid of the grass and composter, due to my insane fear of mice, and the fact that they were enjoying my greenhouse more than I was, we loaded it all into the box of the truck. It was full to the top, and it looked like it was quivering . I have never in my life seen anything like it...and hope I never will again.

So...honeycats, I cannot tell you anything that will help you from my own personal experience....I can tell you that in my experience it has been much easier for me to go to my local landfill site each spring and buy a load of compost.

I followed the directions to the letter and went down in flames. It was a huge blow to my garden ego.

Two years ago I was building a new flower bed and removed a large amount of sod. I piled it all up on one huge pile, and left it there. I had every intention of removing it and putting it into the truck and driving it to the dump to add to the landfill compost area. Time was an issue that year and I did not get there as soon as I had rained like crazy on the pile, and it seemed it would never happen.

The day finally came for me to load my pile into the truck. I grabbed my shovel and started to scoop it into the truck. The first few scoops were still pieces of sod and I thought I would be there all day....but then after I got through the outer layer , I realized that my sod had turned into the most beautiful fluffy black dirt! I was ecstatic! I finally composted something!

(by the way....this is not a photo of my grass pile....I got it from the grass is
Later that year I went to bring my garbage cans that I use for dirt back into the greenhouse. I usually keep the lids on them and store them out in the shed area of the yard over the summer. I had one particularly large one and it felt really heavy. It turns out that it too had some wonderful compost inside it. I had filled it with discarded greenhouse plants and had put the lid back on it so that the whole can would not fill with snow when we had the last big storm of the spring. I had forgotten all about it and to my surprise, it did not rot and get stinky....but instead had turned out perfect!
So you see...I know absolutely nothing about composting, and am so totally NOT the girl to ask. When I desperately tried to make my own compost, I went down in flames, but when I had no intention of it at all, I was pleasantly surprised!

Sorry girl. Hope you at least got a chuckle out of this post.
I did find you a web site that may shed more light on this question for here to go to the site.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend. I hope to see you Monday morning.