Sunday, May 29, 2011

Amending Garden Soil

After giving a formal compost pile a try, I found that it was much easier to just haul in a couple yards of compost from Wheeler Zamaroni once a year.  However, I still cringe a little every time I throw perfectly good yard waste into my city recycler.  So today I came up with a way to still use it in my garden without the hassle of turning compost.

In this section of my garden, I've just pulled out my spring broccoli.  So I removed the top 4" of soil.

In the pit, I spread some spent pea plants, the leaves from the broccoli I'd just pulled, and some spent coffee grounds I'd been collecting in a can under the sink.

Then I returned the soil to the bed, while at the same time mixing in some steer and chicken manure.

Gave the whole thing a good watering and there you have it.  Instant compost already added to my bed.

This plot will remain empty for the next 30-60 days until it's time to plant some fall cabbage.  By that time, the greens I'd thrown in should be broken down and composted.

But every gardener will tell you that amending soil and adding compost are probably the two most important aspects of gardening.  I amend the soil in my raised beds several times throughout the year.  As I mentioned, every spring, I bring in a couple yards of compost or garden soil that I either lay over the top or turn into the soil, depending on what it is.  Then as the year goes on and I pull and plant, I do things like this to add more organic matter bit by bit.