The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Compost for Our New Garden

June 27th, 2013 · No Comments · Posted in garden

Before planting anything, compost

Before planting anything, compost

Quick! What’s the solution to most garden problems?

Answer: compost.

Compost is what happens to all the dead organic matter our planet generates. Anything that’s ever been alive eventually dies. A host of different bacteria, fungi, protozoa, mites, earthworms, spiders and other creatures eat that dead matter and return it to the soil. Without compost, we’d be over our heads in garbage, and our soil would be worthless.

Adding compost to your soil brings more benefits than anything else you can do. It increases fertility, tilth and water holding capacity. It balances pH and adds minerals. It creates an environment where beneficial critters of all kinds below the soil level can thrive. Organic matter and clay are the two most important elements for the cation exchange that’s essential for plants to take nutrients from the soil

In most cases, you don’t need to turn your soil or double-dig your beds. You are better off just working some compost into your garden.

So when Tom all but finished six new vegetable beds in our back yard yesterday, we made plans for a trip to a local outfit here in Washington County that specializes in compost. Booth’s Blend Compost, run by the Booth family outside Greenwich, collects cow manure from area farms, mixes it with straw and then watches the magic happen.

Of course, there’s a bit more to it than just watching. They have a giant machine that turns the composting material in long, tall windrows. The microbes–billions and billions of them–do the rest, chomping away on that manure and straw and over a period of weeks turning it into “black gold.”

With the threat of yet more rain in the forecast, Tom and I were up at 5:30 this morning to make a pot of coffee then drive 11 miles to the Booth farm. Because of the almost continuous wetness in the weather lately, the Booths don’t have much compost available at the moment. It’s all soaking wet. But they had enough under a tarp to fill the back of our pickup truck, so that’s just what we did. For $50, we drove back with enough compost to lay a couple of inches on all of our new garden beds in preparation for planting seeds, along with some young vegetable plants we bought at the garden store.

Tom shoveled while I maneuvered the wheel barrow and dropped piles of black gold into the beds. Now I’ll use my stirrup hoe–my favorite garden tool–to gently work the compost into the existing soil That will create beds that are just right for growing strong, healthy vegetables.

Remember, if your vegetables are ailing, try adding compost.

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