Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Digging (or excavating?) for Black Gold

I have been bummed until recently as to my lame compost pile.  Granted it was lame because I was bad about turning it (not having those awesome sphere/side barrel ones, ok, excuses excuses...)

Anyways, so this year I was bad and didn't add compost to the garden beds early on like I usually do because the bin was looking fullish of unrotted things.

After being tired of feeling like things have been slow going for the pile I decided to investigate and thought, "Maybe if I look under the pile and poke deep in?"  (I have one of those tall box shape plastic commercial compost bins.  I know, silly early mistake when I was younger to purchase).

AND OMG.  Was there compost.  Loads of delicious crumbly beautiful stuff.  BUCKETS.  6 HEAVY FULL giant kitty litter plastic square buckets ("borrowed" from someone's recycling... who I now scope out often) of amazing compost.

It was perilous digging into it like that because I started just before dusk when I couldn't see anything very well (except filthy rich compost) and with how warm compost can get and as I've seen snakes chilling in the bin before (and how I don't like to wear gloves...) I could have probably had issues if I encountered any creepy crawlies and it may have been my imagination, but I thought I did see a small tail slither by... but there were a lot of squash seedling roots that could have tricked my eyes...  I was just so giddy about the compost I kept digging and digging, elbow deep (horizontally) into the bin until my 2 main 5 ft x 15 ft beds were both given a good layer of compost before I decided to call it a night.
(side of compost bin that I was digging into to get to compost.  There was all sorts of un-composted stuff that had packed into the side, which was the reason I thought I had no compost, but I just had to dig! And dig I did.)

(essentially this pic shows poorly how I dug into the bin, underneath the pile until there was over a full foot between the floor of the bin and the actual pile above.  I probably dug more up in the center.  It was sort of interesting because though the pile looked depleted by half from above when I was done with my 6 bucketfuls, I think it slowly sank, and filtered itself out of really large chunks of unrotted material as I dug underneath the pile)
The next day I took pics and tried all other side of the bin to mine for more black gold when I discovered that if I dug a little upwards too more compost was there and I hauled bunches more to fill my 7 smaller 1 ft x 4ft beds that hold vines and strawberry plants!  It was so grand to see all that scrap saving work out into such huge rewards.

Now garden, let's get growing!


Langley Rock Walls said...

I would have to say that you are a creepy crawly excavator extraordinaire...to say the least :-)

lucca said...

I think that's one of the secrets to compost--you don't *really* have to turn it at all, as long as you layer it right and don't mind waiting an extra week or two (or maybe months with larger-sized piles). When I tried composting in a small (3x2x1ft) plastic bin, I was able to get good compost without turning at all, and a few melon seedlings to boot!

Ginger said...

Harvesting compost is exhausting!

Good haul!

persephone said...

@langley: Thanks! I take it as a compliment to be an excavator extraordinaire! I thought I might be an archeologist when I was younger!

@lucca: I have heard that you don't REALLY need to turn it... I'm probably not the best at layering it properly, I tend to be in a hurry, dump, add some newspaper and go! Amazing what they are selling out there though: http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11531085&search=composter&Mo=4&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=bc&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=composter&Ntt=composter&No=4&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1
(ok, that was long... but good grief bells and whistles!)

@ginger: no joke! I was pooped (no pun intended) afterwards. Still want more compost though!