Gardeners know that compost is "black gold" for plants. So many good things in compost to feed the soil and feed the plant.
Our city has a compost site where gardeners can take plant material and pick up free compost. If you have a large amount of plant material (such as grass clippings or raked leaves) it's super easy to make a trip to the site. Getting the compost involves some effort shoveling it into a container or vehicle, but is worth it. We utilize the free compost for large planting areas. Now, if you only have scraps from the kitchen or clippings from the garden occasionnally, it's not worth the trip to take them to the compost site.
With a small garden, I didn't want to give a lot of space to constructing large compost bins. Nor did I have enough to fill them for the composting process as often is described in gardening information sites.
Several years ago, I purchased a compost tumbler. I have not gotten the hang of it. I keep reading about putting in this ratio of dry material to that ratio of green material and letting it 'cook' turning the compost tumbler occassionally. I never have the right ratios available. Plus, what about the kitchen scraps I have accumulating? Where should they go while waiting to be part of the composting process? It is great when I pull a lot of weeds. I just stuff the compost tumbler full and let them bake in there.
Giving up on having the right ratio of materials, I just started sticking what ever I had in the tumbler spinning it when I walked by. I would eventually get compost. Lumpy compost, but it is better than nothing. Often the material gets too dry in the compost tumber. However, when it rains; the compost tumbler manages to capture water. Now, that makes great compost tea. I have encouraged that process and use the compost tea on containers.
In the winter, nothing 'cooks' in the compost tumber for me very well. So, what do I do with the kitchen scraps? I just toss them on the ground in our 'wild area' next to the compost tumbler. It's a bit unsightly, but it's winter. I don't spend a lot of time out there looking at the space. The view from our table is in the opposite direction.
In the spring, I rake together the scraps and last fall's garden clean up material and then dig out the awesome soil that has formed below. We did this for the new planting bed we created last spring and that soil was wonderful. I then push all the scraps, etc. into the hole, level out the area and let whatever decides to grow there have the space (plus a few things I may add) for the growing season. We often just toss garden cuttings, etc. amoungst the volunteer plants through the summer too. The jungle of plants hide the scraps easy.
So, while you see a compost tumbler at Garden on Sherlock Street, it's use is minimal. I don't know what I'm doing with it! If you have some advice, feel free to share.
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