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Composting

  • To: gardenchat@hort.net
  • Subject: Composting
  • From: "Johnson Cyndi D Civ 95 CG/SCSRT" cyndi.johnson@edwards.af.mil
  • Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 08:38:29 -0800
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • Thread-index: AccJnaWB23CFEdneTHeojLJC99o/gA==
  • Thread-topic: Composting

Bonnie wrote something the other day that made me laugh a little. I
mentioned all the sycamore leaves and how, if I had time, I should shred
them and use them as mulch. Bonnie said, just pile them up and next
summer you'll have compost. Which gave me instant envy for a climate
where you could do that.
It's dry here. I mean, it's really dry. When we moved to our current
house years ago, the first time I mowed the lawn I didn't have an area
set up for a compost pile, so I just dumped the grass over on the side
of the yard. And it just sat there. Now, I have a big yard, and we had a
lot to do, so I forgot about it for a couple years while we got
everything set up like we wanted it. One day I went over and kicked that
pile - it was pretty much like I'd left it only of course it was dry and
slightly smaller. The stuff at the bottom looked pretty much like the
stuff on the top. No decomposition had taken place at all!
Compost here requires human intervention, mostly in the form of water.
When I was more energetic, I would get out there every week and turn
over the pile, soaking everything with my hose during the process. But I
don't do it much any more - in the vegetable garden I just pile the
spoiled hay from the sheep pens right onto the beds. Because those get
watered all summer it does break down, and there's a lot of it, so I
don't really need the finished compost. I still have a pile, but I'm not
very good at maintaining it. And I throw away a lot of stuff from the
kitchen that could go out there.
I decided just the other day I should start using the hay on the front
garden, till now I've mostly just used bark mulch on the bare spots. It
looks nicer and it too will eventually break down (takes a lot longer
though). But I think I'd get better results from the plants if I used
the hay, and now of course we have all that horse manure. I started
piling that into the chicken pen - it's pretty big - and I'll let the
chickens kick through it and maybe it will help fertilize all the trees
and shrubs in there. I don't know how much that can absorb though. It's
amazing...you know, you feed sheep and you get back piles of these
little pellets...feed a horse and you pretty much get back the same
volume of stuff!
So how many of you have real compost piles? Are you diligent about
turning them or is it just a place to dump organic matter?

Cyndi

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