Remember how I said in the last post about how I was glad not to have to lug soil around this year to fill the garden box? Well, irony can be a mofo.
We had to get the compost delivered because we needed such a large amount. I made sure to give very careful instructions at the garden center on the precise location in the yard where the compost should be dropped off. Steve even agreed to be home at the time of delivery to direct the driver. The next thing I receive about the delivery is a text with this image:
Pile of compost in the driveway
Whaa?!?!?! My response- why is this in the driveway? Surprised face emoji, angry face emoji. Turns out, the driver couldn’t get is truck into the backyard, so he left it in the most convenient place. Can’t fault him for that.
Once that wave of emotion passed, we had to figure out how to get the compost from a pile in the driveway to the garden box on the opposite side of the house.
I love me some Amazing Race, but I did not want to recreate a hellish seeming detour, but that’s exactly what we had to do. Our tools- wheelbarrow, shovel and brute strength.
The task- to move the compost pile one shovel full and one wheelbarrow full at a time until the box was full. Steve and I took turns shoveling compost and rolling the wheelbarrow into the backyard. It took both of us to lift it over the edge of the garden box and tip in the dirt though. Luckily it wasn’t too hot- mid 80s with 100% humidity. Oh, I forgot to mention that we did this in the rain. But with teamwork, we got this done in a little over two hours on a couple of different evenings.
And look at the beautiful results!
Detour tool 1
Detour tool 2
Garden box filled!
Compost piles are gifts that keep on giving. At least that’s what I’ve read. Since last summer I’ve been giving some thought to starting a compost pile, but that’s about as far as I got. Until now! After thinking about it for so long, I finally decided to put one in the corner of the garden.
Compost piles have lots of benefits but I wanted to share my reasons for starting one.
1. Composting is easy– There aren’t very many steps to starting a compost pile or to keep one going. Staff at my favorite garden center told me they’re hard to mess up which seems pretty close to idiot proof. Good news for me.
2. Composting is free- There isn’t a cost to composting if you use yard materials such as decomposed leaves and grass. The food scraps come from already purchased groceries. Some people choose to buy a compost bin, but I’ve just cleared a corner of the yard and started the pile there.
3. Composting means a healthier garden- Composting provides really rich soil for the garden which means a nutrient-rich base for the plants. Yay for stronger, more nutrient dense fruits and vegetables!
4. Composting is better for the environment- The food waste doesn’t end up in a landfill and decomposes naturally. Composting is better for the environment and I’m sure it will greatly cut back on the amount of garbage we generate.
5. Compost can be used in landscaping- Compost isn’t just for a vegetable garden. It can also be used in flower beds and landscaping. It’s good to know that the pile I’m starting now can be used for next year’s landscaping. I haven’t had much luck so far in growing flowers in the yard since we’ve been here, so hopefully the compost will help.
If you have other reasons or benefits for starting a compost pile, please share!
Starting a compost pile isn’t very difficult. There are tons of resources online on how to start one. I found Rodale’s Garden Life very helpful. Here is how to build a compost pile in just six easy steps.
Location of compost pile
1. Select a location- The location should be somewhere convenient and close to the garden. You don’t want to have to go really far to add your scraps to the pile or have move compost a long way when it’s ready to use. I chose the corner of the yard closest to the garden.
Base layer of leaves
2. Start with a layer of organic materials- This could be leaves, grass clippings, straw, etc. Good thing we were too lazy to remove our leaves from the yard last fall, the decomposed leaves were the basis for my first layer.
Layer of soil
3. Add a layer of soil- I added a layer of soil on top of the decomposing leaves. I used soil from the front yard in what will eventually be our drainage ditch. So I didn’t have to buy soil or pull it from somewhere it was needed.
Layer of fruits and veggies
4. Add a layer of green materials- Starting a compost pile is like making a lasagna. You keep adding layers. The next layer should be green materials like kitchen scraps. We’d been saving ours for awhile so we had a good mix of fruits and vegetables.
My completed compost pile
5. Add a layer of organic materials- This was the final layer. I added some more leaves to the top and voila, compost pile done!
6. Moisten- The final step was to wet the entire pile. The pile needs to be moist, but not wet so it can do its thing and break down the food scraps.
So there it is! A compost pile in six easy steps. In a couple months time, I should have extremely rich soil to use in the garden.