Article written

  • on 12.07.2010
  • at 09:55 PM
  • by admin

Starting the Compost Box 0

Jul12

Earlier, I had posted about a compost experiment, starting a new compost pile in my unused planting box.  Yesterday, Dave and I finally got around to preparing the box.  I had covered it with a tarp for a week or so, to make it easier to pull out some of the pernicious weeds in the box.

Bermuda Grass roots in the foreground

Our biggest offender was bermuda grass, which is one of the things I don’t put in my compost, because of how quickly it spreads.  The majority of the soil left in the box was just bermuda grass roots, which were still really hard to pull out.  We used a pitchfork and Dave even used a pickaxe to pull some of the more recalcitrant roots out, being careful not to harm the box itself.

Some of the woody material we chopped up

Then we started chopping all the woody plant material that we had clipped earlier, sages, cardoons, and tons of Cecile Brunner roses that I had clipped from the porch.  I know from experience that these roses take a while to compost.  This climbing species seems to be immune to some of the rust that plagues other roses in the garden, so I can safely put it in the compost.

Cecile Brunner Roses from earlier in the season

I stood over one side of the box with big loppers and Dave stood at the other with our rusty hedge trimmers, cutting the large branches into smaller pieces.  Chopping the plant material is something that I’ve often been too lazy to do, but it makes an incredible difference in composting time.  Every little rip or tear exposes more of the plant to decomposers and gets the process jump-started.  It really helps when you have a friend!  Dave said it was like giving a three stooges haircut…

Then we watered the whole thing down, and placed the tarp back on top.  I wanted to add some compost with worms and decomposers, but my regular compost was pretty dry, so I did some more watering all around.  The light blue tarp isn’t ideal for coverage, it’s kind of old and lets some light through, which can let plants grow, so I’m keeping an eye out for another tarp we can use to cover the box.  I don’t want to buy a new plastic tarp.

It was a new moon, so I started some tiny seeds in an egg carton, holy basil, statice and lobelia (takes a long time to germinate).  We’ll see how they turn  out.  I feel like I’m just starting to get my rusty gardening bones back. It feels good.  I also wanted to get the irrigation going, but the Sunday afternoon laziness factor kicked in full blast, and we just took it easy.   I’ve been reading Driving over Lemons in Andalucia, and I could close my eyes and imagine that I was in the Spanish countryside …

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