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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.


Coloradolady said...

The very reason I do not compost is the mice. I can not stand the thought of them in my yard. I am thinking about getting a large one that is closed and you spin daily to compost. I don't know. I still fear the mice.

Justine said...

EWwwwww... I'm sitting here, thinking of a huge mound of clumpy dirt with millions of ants and mice skittering around. Blechhhhhhhhh!

But ooh girl, LOVE that new pic of you with your edgy haircut and flat-ironed style! You go girl!

Justine :o )

Bridget said...

The nothing to your compost? I'll buy mine too!

Unknown said...

I have just recently read an article about making compost with worms. I also have a regular compost pile with no problems. The worms are called Red Wigglers and are supposed to make a wonderful compost from kitchen scaps etc. Here is the website they explain it better than I ever could.

Betty said...

I've thought about doing one of these...never have I think I would have the same results you did. Oh I do have one sort of, the corner of the farmer's land where he can't get as he makes the circle with his plow. Yes, I bet that is a real good compost there!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tootsie,

If you remember, a while ago I wrote to you that typing your name put a smile on my face. Well now, knowing that your having some disturbing times, puts a knot in my stomach. I ache for you my friend and have you in my prayers and wish that better days are ahead for you.

I wish you peace in your heart.



Anonymous said...

Hi Tootsie, it's the "stranger from the northeast" again. I have to say that I really love your blog.:) from reading some of the posts, I understand your going through some not so nice, personal issues. I must tell you, it takes a real lady, a person of real CLASS to push through whatever they are going through, and yet still make others laugh, and brighten our day with your stories. I hope whatever your going through passes soon, you seem like a very sweet and caring person. Take care :)


Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Hey Girl, hope all is well in Tootsville the new Do looks great on you...makes you look even younger girl!! hugs and smiles..give that Busy some sugar for me.. Gloria

imjacobsmom said...

Cute hairstyle! I tried composting and you are right - the smell! That's what killed it for me - and oh the pesky flies! ~ Robyn

Anonymous said...

Tootsie, from time to time when I checked your blog you hadn't posted. Since I was aware that you were working on personal matters, I didn't come here often. I came today for the first time in many days. The topic didn't excite me, but then I read your stories and they are so much like my experience with composting that I could actually identify with you. And I'm with Gloria--cute new do!

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

GM sweet Tootsie, Hope you have a great the new do girl..Hugs and smiles...yours in my prayers honey...Gloria

Buffie said...

Yea, they all love your new do! I do too of course, you're one HOT mamma!!!!

Susan (Between Naps On The said...

Wow...I'm not going to attempt composting. If Tootsie had problems with it...that's good enough for me! I've already had problems with mice coming up on my deck to get to my bird I think I'll skip the composting. Very entertaining post! :-) Susan

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

Composting is not for me!! Maybe if I lived on a farm it would be ok. It's cheap enough, I just buy it when I need it. I really only use it on my tomatoe plants. I am doing fine with not opening the store. I still manage the floral shop. That's good enough for me!!
xoxoxo Terrie

Jill said...

I stopped in and thought I would just be here for a second and I began reading and reading and reading. Girl you are so talented! One can learn a lot from you. You need to start your own magazine. You would have a field day with my yard!
Oh and I am not on your list:(

Life on the Edge said...

Great post! So funny. I am sure that if I tried it, I would get the same results. I can just imagine trying to put stuff in there and seeing mice or ants! Ugh!

Wow, you sure look great with your hair done differently! And I love that pic that Bridget did for you!


Anonymous said...

I think I am home for good now, I planted my first early girl tomatoe this morning. It is under 80 in the mornings finally. I hope you had a wonderful summer. I am looking forward to your tips come this fall. Katherine

Rhea said...

Congrats on your 100th post!

No compost piles for me. Mice, ewww.


Hi Tootsie,
Glad you are back and when I read the post about the hissing I was think it was a snake...even tho is was licky..better a skunk than a snake. When Kailee and I took that class this summer we learned a little song about dirt...
Dirt made my lunch
Dirt made my lunch
thank you dirt
thanks a bunch
for giving me
good things to munch
dirt made my lunch.
It was an awesome learning experience for both of us :)
Hope everything with you is okay now :)
Warmly, Deb

Julie said...

OMG look H-O-T!!! How did you lose all your weight like that??? I am wanting to lose some your hair too. You are just cute no matter what you weigh...but now you have an added cuteness factor!!! cONGRATULATIONS!!!

Anonymous said...

Tootsie, Thanks for answering my question. I have to tell you I have not laughed that hard in a long time. I almost fell out of my chair. I am a night nurse at a VA hospital where we take care of patients with mental problems. I was lauging so loud my co-workers thought I had lost my mind. I think they were ready to put me in a restraint.
While reading your post all I could think of was my cats in attack mode surrounding this huge container (that is where I got my computer name, my last name contains honey and I am "mom" to several cats) I don't like mice(I don't have mice because of my cats) and I don't like bugs.
I think I will save my money and buy me something nice. I can go down to my local garden center and buy compost that doesn't require mice, bugs or any other creatures.
Thanks again for all the great information that you give us and always for making us laugh.

Renee said...

Oh, you're crushing my dreams of being this organic, composting diva!!!! LOL I do want to get a compost bin when we get a house and it at least try. (we ready to go put a bid in on one yesterday and the Realtor called and said an offer had already been accepted..but I digress...) one point this summer I had a crazy 2 weeks and I left a small pile of deadheaded flowers and some dead grass that I raked up laying out front and when I finally went to clean it up there was some black dirt already beginning to form...crazy huh????