Saturday, November 29, 2008

happy compost day

yesterday while scotty went mountain biking, i decided it was a perfect day to do my compost project that i've been putting off. i started our compost trash can back in april when we moved into the house. it has been breaking down all these months and it was high time to turn it and make a larger area for compost. so i found materials that i had leftover from making the sfg garden and put together a big compost area. i raked the spot i wanted to put it in to make sure there were no walnuts since i'd read that they would make my compost toxic, especially to tomatoes. it was the first time in months that i've really worked my body like i know it needs to be worked. i hammered posts and shovelled compost as well as the dirt from the flower garden in the front yard that i have no desire to do again, and added it to the compost pile, walked from the front yard to the back yard a dozen felt really good. the compost trash can was sooo full, i had to fill a 5 gallon bucket over and over to move it all. when i got to the middle there was this wonderful earthy smell. it was really dirt down there!! and egg shells. mental note to crush them better from now on. it was so nice out that i eventually took off my jacket and then my sweater...i was in a tank top...outside, it felt so nice!!! anyway, here are some pix:

the "cage"

the old bin

pile of "stolen" grass clippings drying out for layering in compost

me shoveling out the compost to move it

getting down to the good stuff

it's DIRT!! (and eggshells!)

finally done!!! i put one of my extra garden cages on top to keep out walnuts dropping and critters.

p.s. yes, we did get together with family and friends for thanksgiving...and had a wonderful time. i actually had some really good conversations with my sisters. after eating with family we went to asheville to have a pie party with alice's family and some friends...



CG said...

As to the eggshells, they are, of course, great in compost but also valuable applied directly to calcium loving plants (tomatoes especially -- lack of calcium is the most common cause of blossom end rot). As an added advantage, the sharp shell pieces on the soil discourage the slugs (that also, of course, love tomatoes).

This is where the chemistry gets interesting. Calcium is basic (alkaline) and a lot of our soils in Appalachia tend toward acidity. Acidic soils will leach out the calcium exactly until they reach neutrality, then leave the calcium alone until they tend toward acidity again. So while you wouldn’t put eggshells around acid loving plants (blueberries), they aren’t generally going to make the soil too sweet for anything. But that's also why pieces of them will remain identifiable for a long time sometimes.

It is amazing and wonderful how quickly compost becomes just soil, but very fertile soil.

Oh, as to walnuts -- it isn't so much the nuts exactly, or toxicity per se, but that walnut trees exude something that attempts to inhibit other growth underneath them. So I wouldn't worry about a little but only if the compost were to become a place where it could concentrate, build up. Those nuts are terrific to eat and were my grandfather's favorite. Says me, not being much of a raw nut fan, thinking they all taste something like raw beans -- so maybe I should amend that to they are a terrific, local, usually abundant source of fat that is otherwise a bit difficult to get.

Ren said...

Love all the pics as usual....that compost is good stuff eh?:)

Glad you got a shot of the "cake greater than pie" thing too.