Monday, November 7, 2011

For the Love of Dirt

Before we started prepping gardens, or even organizing our new home, we built the compost bin.  For so many years as we moved from place to place and house to house,we had either basic wire bins for compost or simply a pile in the woods.  These piles inevitably attracted local wildlife and took a long time to gradually turn into usable compost.

Dave built this 3 section compost bin using untreated wood and poultry wire.  The idea is that you slide boards into the front as you add more compostable goodness into the section.  When the bin is full you turn it into the next bin and eventually the final bin, and voila, you have yummy dirt.  There are so many books and detailed websites that explain exactly the correct formula for making perfect compost, but we go in for a basic approach of balancing nitrogen and carbon by using a ratio of 3 parts brown stuff to 1 part green stuff.  If it doesn't seem to get warm, add more green, and if it stinks, add more brown.  When we toss in food scraps we try to throw some leaves or pieces of cardboard on top to keep the bugs out, but otherwise we let the pile be.  

We aren't making quite enough compost to keep up with our demands as we add more garden space.  Last week we ordered our second 14 cubic yard load of compost and we spent the weekend filling in our new garden spot.  Still, it is incredibly satisfying to garden with our own dirt!

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