A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Another gray, rainy day. I'm so glad it is rain and not snow. Rain does not have to be shovelled. It is also good for my compost. I am a lazy composter. I just throw stuff in and let nature take its course. I don't turn it. I don't add particular ingredients in a particular order. I don't even obssess about the ingredients. No meats, no bones, no fats. Everything else gets thrown in the top and wonderful soil comes out the bottom. It seems to work best on a three year cycle. Stuff gets thrown in the top the first year. It cooks in the middle the second year. I take it out from the bottom and use it the third year. Like I said, I am a lazy composter.

Not entirely lazy. I've discovered it "cooks" better if it is wet. We had many years of drought here in New Jersey so I had to water the composter along with the gardens. I felt kind of silly standing over it with a hose. I've also learned the hard way not to throw weeds that have gone to seed into it. I bag those now and take them to the town's recycling center. I also bag most of my leaves. My composter is small and can't hold all of them. One habit I got into that didn't get done this year was to put the bag on my mulching mower a few times in the fall and throw the resulting grass clippings and shredded leaves into the composter. I also throw some onto a few flower beds. Kind of composting "in situ". It's needed in the bed where I grow sunflowers and pumpkins. They are heavy feeders. Compost is the only fertilizer I use. It's free and organic.

The reason I didn't do the grass clippings and shredded leaves this year is that I am having a problem mowing my lawn since I started working nights. Working nights is not a problem for the rest of my gardening activities. On my nights off, I spend a few hours in the yard when the sun comes up. Then a quick shower and off to dreamland until evening. But I don't think my neighbors would appreciate it if I revved up the mower at dawn. During the summer, it was not a problem because I still had a few hours of sunlight in the evenings and could mow then. I lost that late sunlight in the fall and had to stop mowing. So my grass got long and the leaves stayed on the lawn until December when I had a few vacation days and took advantage of the mild weather to rake up them up.


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