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!