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propagating perennials: Composting
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Friday, March 7, 2008


I’ve read a lot about composting since I have been doing it for years. When I had a farmette in Upstate New York I raised chicken, pigs and Black Angus and bred them as well. The hardest part was when it came time to butcher so I had a neighbor come in and handle that aspect, but I will say the meat was better then what we can buy in stores especially today with all the hormones that are feed to livestock to fatten them up faster and why the USDA had to lower their standards years ago. I had plenty of manure to compost, but I also had a small area where horse radish grew naturally, what most gardeners die to possess, silty loam, so I wasn’t desperate for good garden soil, just to find good help to pick the crops, since I was self-employed with employees and was on the road a lot. Circumstances change when a person moves from the country to the city. Little manure is to be found. The house I purchased had fencing around the front of the property for their animals, which I took down, and since I am always looking for ways to reuse materials, I used that fencing to create my first compost pile, but after a few years raccoons were starting to visit, eventually I discarded my corn cobs in the trash, until one day I visited the local Smith and Hawken, owned by Scott’s,, store and there I found what has turned out to be the best composting product that came to market. Plastic, but can be broken down. In California cities give them to homeowners at a discount to cut back on trash removal. One thing that always bothered me with composting were the egg shells. When I used the trenching method they would surface years later. Then an idea popped into my head. Why not use a blender to give the worms a head start. Wow, the red wigglers in the summer are beyond belief, and I don’t fish. One day when I was in Bed, Bath & Beyond, I noticed a canister with a squeeze grip lid so I started putting my kitchen scraps into that and when it’s full I add water and dump it into my blender and after turning the compost I add that slop to the pile. It can smell pretty gross though. Imagine coffee grinds, pizza crust, egg shells, and pineapple skins. I’ve noticed the price on the composter has increased 30% since I purchased mine, but it is well worth the money.

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

I have a couple of the plastic pre-fab compost bins and love them. The only time I had trouble with "critters" getting into them was the Autumn I added over a dozen baked pumpkin shells. I guess the baking brought out the sugar in the pumpkin, and the sugar brought out the "critter".

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