Monday, January 21, 2013

Of Compost-y Things

   Weather in the 70's has my family mending fences, seeding pasture grounds and raking a lot of leaves. In general, I prefer to leave the leaves where they fall to allow nature to take its course. When working seed in a pasture some of those leaves are gathered up for another purpose: the compost heap.
   Some gardeners have beautiful compost barrels or bins; tidy and aesthetic to the eye. They follow careful formulas with ratios to ensure optimum heat for breakdown. I have found, among serious gardeners compost is gold and their system may be a well treasured secret. I am not that kind of gardener.
   Me, I work the heap plan. Mounds of mulchy-mucky microbial goodness working its wonders for the spring planting. Anything and almost everything go into my composts, from barn gleanings to eggs shells with plenty of coop shavings and some wood chips. When a heap gets to that 'almost not manageable size I move over for a new one. My best kept secret? composters in the world.
   Turning my hens loose for a nice turn in the heap ensures the pile gets worked and the unwanted stuff is removed. Those wonderful ladies get down to business scratching and pecking the hearty goods searching out seeds, bugs and kitchen bits while leaving beneficial manure behind. The heap is aerated and broken down to reasonable size (those leaves are now shredded!). This accelerates decomp and gets the job done faster than if I had simply turned it myself.
   No matter your method or the aesthetics of your operation the important thing is that you do it. Home compost is easy and much more cost effective than purchasing bagfuls from the local yards. Join me, won't you, in the quest for success...churn some muck and grow wonderful things this spring. Planting season will be here before you know it.

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