A lot of people ask me about compost. I have to admit well made compost makes a huge difference in the veggies you can grow. My good friend asked me the other day how I grew such beautiful veggies and herbs. I let her know my secret; raised beds full of manure rich compost. It makes all the difference. Compost is about layering carbon(browns) with nitrogen(greens). Before I got animals I made my compost with grass clippings and fall leaves, both collected from the curb. The problem is grass clippings are readily available all summer while fall leaves are NOT. Just when grass clippings come to an end, Fall leaves, well, start to fall. So you can see the dilemma. You either have to save up one or the other. I ended up saving Fall leaves in big piles under my trampoline. These I could use all Summer to add to the grass clippings. However when I got animals, I was free from this dilemma. Even through the winter my compost pile cooked with the hottest nitrogen source; chicken manure. All through out the year I can add rabbit pellets as a top dressing to my beds. It was then that my garden really started to take off. It was then that I really was able to produce food for my family and more to share with others.
If you really can’t see yourself with animals, but would like to garden then get closely acquainted with your local coffee shop. You can pile up your leaves and run your lawn mower over them, then add coffee grounds to heat up your compost. Yes add your table scraps, but don’t expect them to heat up your pile.
Where is the best place to put your pile? Well don’t make the mistake I did and put it against your wooden fence. In an attempt to protect my fence I attached plywood on my fence where my compost would be piled up against it. Sounds good, right? Wrong! The fire ants moved in and made a colony between the fence and the wood that was something to behold. I wish I had taken a picture of the huge labyrinth they made in the space available to them. After we took this down I moved my compost a foot away from my fence closing it in with cement cinder blocks. The blocks in front also serve another purpose.
You can use them as a lever to help you stir your compost, therefore increasing your available arm strength. Yes, I just gave you a way to double your strength. Pay attention, this is super hero stuff here. Using a pitch fork you can lever against the cement cinder blocks to stir your compost. If you are going to produce good rich, seed free compost you have to do two things; keep it moist and stir it at least once per week. Surrounding your compost with cinder blocks can help you keep it aerated and cooking. Remember, your compost is the key to great veggies!