Compost! What a thing
to do a story on, right? If you work a 100 acre
field then you might not be worried too much about compost.
However, if you enjoy spending most of your time in your
backyard then this section might be of interest. As for
myself, I live in my yard when time and weather permit.
I have read about the properties of compost and how it is
important to plants. Often compost is the topic for many
gardening television shows. Basically they all say the
same thing; it is the best thing that you can do for your
garden. It is chocolate cake, pork tenderloin and the
king's feast to a plant. It breaks up the hard soil and
holds moisture while feeding the plants. Not only
that but it looks real cool and is fun to play in.
What is compost made of?
Compost is made of many things that can be found around
your home. If it was once living (meaning plants, not
meat) then it will work. I have a grass catcher
attachment on my lawnmower that I use almost every time I mow
the lawn. I have to put it somewhere, so I use the
clippings as compost. A little dirt and it breaks
down fast. I have also used fruit and vegetable scraps
from the kitchen. Go to the link at the bottom of the
page and see what other people use in their compost bins.
How do I build a compost
bin? I have seen some very nice compost bins
made of expansive wood, plastic, brick and even old wooden
pallets stood up to make big squares. They all were set
up in stages and required that you turn them from one bin to
the other. I don't know about you, but I don't have the
time or the strength to do that much work. This site is
not about work. It's about relaxation and enjoying
your projects and hobbies. Get it? That is why it
is called www.projectsandhobbies.com,
not www. hurt
and frustrate yourself .com.
You can just
throw the stuff on the ground at the end of your garden where
it is in easy range of using it. Put the nice looking
stuff on top to hide the ugly stuff. Add a layer of dirt
every so often so that the bacteria can break it down and add
fertilizer to feed the bacteria. Poke holes in it once
in a while to allow air into it. When you need to use
some of it, scoop it up from the underside the pile. The
best way that I have seen to mix the layers in the pile is to
take a 1/4 inch rod about 48 inches and using a pipe (about
3" in diameter) bend one end of the rod around it to form
a "cork screw". Click
here to view mine. Bend a handle on the opposite end
or put it into a drill. Screw it into the pile and pull
it free. This will pull the inside to the outside.
You can make one or buy one at your hardware store.
Welcome to my garden. As
you can see my garden is small (picture at the top of the
page). It keeps me busy though. My compost pile is
almost bigger than my garden. Although the pile looks
big, it breaks down quickly so I cut my grass often to
increase my compost supply. I use about everything in
the yard except rose bush clippings. Those thorns dry
out and get hard, so you see why I don't use them. I
have already tilled the compost in the garden and even a layer
was added to the bottom of the rows so the plant roots can
reach down for the goodies. The darker soil is freshly
tilled and is the walking path. I will rake some of it
onto the planting rows to create mounds for root warmth.
What if your garden does not
have room to put a compost pile? Try this concept
and see how it works for you. Find a 55 gallon drum with
a removable lid and drill drain holes in the bottom.
Fill it about halfway with your compost ingredients.
Place the lid on the barrel to keep the rain out and use the
locking ring with the barrel when you want to move it.
To turn the compost, just roll it around. To move the
pile from one place to another, just roll it around. To
carry the compost to other parts of the yard, just roll it
around. To hide the barrel, roll it out of the way.
Never let the compost get wet. Moisture is necessary but
not wet. Example; if you put in your grass clippings
straight from the grass catcher, it already has some moisture
in it. Just add some dry dirt. I add a little
fertilizer with mine. It will take some practice but it
In all cases, make sure that
the compost has completely decayed before putting it too close
to your plant roots. The compost uses nitrogen to aid in
the break down process, and it will rob the nitrogen from your
plants. If this happens, your plants will seem to stop
growing. Add some Miracle Grow or it's equivalent, and
it should pull out of its slump.
In the picture below, I am
planting bushes. I have my compost drum beside my
worksite. How many of my projects do you see in this
picture? There is a bluebird
see-saw, 3D landscaping and
the compost drum. The article on treasure
hunting takes place here too. The cat sleeps
in the pansy pot on the deck during the summer. I will
never forget the first time that I saw that cat. I was
in the yard cutting a board with my electric (loud) circular
saw. The cat jumped up on the board, sat down and
looked at me, not afraid of anything. He has been
keeping me company with my projects ever since. I can't
get him to leave either. Just kidding. He even has
his own web page. Click Here and
see for yourself.
Try these links and see what you can learn.
Remember you read it at www.projectsandhobbies.com
If you are the outdoors type try my section on Fishing
for Bluegill and Crappie.