Thursday, October 05, 2006

Looks like dirt, smells like dirt

Remember this post? I inherited this compost bin (and a nice start on the compost) from the previous owners of our house. My husband threw leaves in it last fall "just to get rid of them."

Last spring, I just happened to look under the leaves, and was pleasantly surprised to find some nice dirt under there. I've been adding my kitchen cuttings ever since.

My little graffiti'ed compost bin has been working hard this summer - so hard that I'm not sure what to do now. I guess I'm surprised by my own "success!"

Who would have thought I would act like such a crazy woman, SO EXCITED about a pile that looks like dirt, and smells like dirt?
I want to use it before I get another round of fall leaves to start a new batch.

I've searched the internet and found all kinds of info, but not what I want to know:
  • Is it okay to use compost on beds in the fall?
  • Am I supposed to wait a while and not add to it until everything is decomposed, then use it?
  • Or am I supposed to take it from the bottom only (I'd have to take the whole bin apart!)?
Can any of you master gardeners help me out?


Susanne said...

Well seeing my thumb is not green at all I will refrain from giving you any sage advice! Good luck!

Stacey said...

I have no idea : ) Sorry about that. You'll have to let us all know how it turns out though. Sounds pretty cool.

Jan/ said...

Yesterday I *payed* $2.49 for just enough potting soil to barely fill two hanging pots. So you are looking at quite a valuable commodity there!

annie said...

I'm anxiously watching for advice too. We're moving in 2 weeks and the new house will have a compost pile, but I have no idea how to use it.

She-Ra said...

I have a compost bin started last winter. I add regularly and stir occasionally to keep the decomposition party rockin' along. I just figured out that the reason my bin has a loose lid on both ends is so that I can "turn" the pile and use the good stuff on the bottom. I believe that you can compost in the fall - gives it time to soak in. You could also spread a few leaves on top if you want as well as putting some in the bin to start another round. Since your bin is not "turnable" per se, I would suggest leaving it as long as possible before using. You are better to wait but if you want to use what you have so you can start some more, you could probably pull the biggest chunks aside and toss them back in after you use the rest.

But take this for what it's worth since I haven't actually used my new dirt yet. But I will definitely be using it come spring! I just have to remember not to stir it after Feb so all the good stuff will be together on the bottom and I can flip my bin, refill with stuff from top of pile then use the bottom layer in the garden. If I stir too late I'll have the goodies all mixed in and not available to use.