Organic Compost Super Sauce
Do you have a super sauce for your garden?
I have been creating my own sauce for many years and you can too.
We retired in 2013, and after a few years I became bored and began looking for something to do. I kept asking myself, what am I passionate about? What would I like to do with my time… then I went to my greenhouse and began spraying some of my plants. Bingo.
I am passionate about my fruit trees and vegetables. I like seeing them grow and produce food for my friends and family. I enjoy creating my free compost without costing me a dime using the kitchen and yard waste.
My compost pile began with dirt removed from the yard when planting trees. I chose to build a compost bin with extra bricks, cementing them together. To the dirt, we added scrap vegetables and egg shells from the kitchen, grass clippings, and leaves from the yard.
I like to keep the soil turned and moist to aerate the mixture. By doing this also allows me to view the health and quantity of my earthworms.
I was so pleased with my compost this year; I build another compost bin, increasing my quantity by 4x. I also planted some potatoes and herbs in this bin, being careful when burying and turning the waste.
By using this method, it is similar to a key-hole garden. We will discuss this later.
I now have about 75 cubic feet of compost anytime it is needed, an increase from about 50 cubic feet from last year.
An extra benefit of the compost being incorporated with the soil this year were many volunteer tomatoes. Many grew to over seven to eight feet high. One of these plants, which I transplanted from the volunteers, produced 72 tomatoes but only grew to less than three feet.
Composting organisms require four equally important ingredients:
- Carbon — for energy; the microbial oxidation of carbon produces the heat if included at suggested levels. High carbon materials tend to be brown and dry, such as fallen leaves, paper, and cardboard.
- Nitrogen — to grow and reproduce more organisms to oxidize the carbon. High nitrogen materials tend to be green (or colorful, such as fruits, vegetables, and freshly cut grass) and wet.
- Oxygen — the decomposition process. The compost should be turned frequently.
- Water — in the right amounts to maintain activity in the compost pile.
Certain ratios of these materials will provide microorganisms to work at a rate that will heat up the pile. Active management of the pile (turning) is needed to maintain a sufficient supply of oxygen and the right moisture level. The air/water balance is critical to maintaining high temperatures (135°-160° Fahrenheit) until the materials are broken down.
My secret sauce is my compost bins. What’s your secret sauce?