while you’re at it: fall compost care

screening-compost2WHILE YOU’RE AT IT TUCKING IN THE GARDEN, the compost pile could use some TLC, too. Perhaps sticks and stones won’t break your bones, but they need to be screened from finished compost before you incorporate it into beds (that’s my wheelbarrow-top compost screen, left). In fact, the whole heap could use a turning and a tidying now. Remember the drill?

  1. chris says:

    my compost pile will be two years old next spring when i figure it will be ready to spread. it is a nice mixture of browns, leaves, and greens, mostly lawn that i scalped to make my victory (as in obama) garden. i think that after i rake and pile my leaves this fall and add some more scalping (need more garden room), i will invest in one of those fancy chipper/shredders, and shred all of my compost in order to accelerate composting. the chipper could also attack mucho brush that has grown during the somnalescence of the prior owner. i was looking at the mighty mac, and would be interested in any feedback from mighty mac, dr or other owners.

  2. Kathy says:

    Forty feet of compost…I’m jealous. I’m just starting to spread mine around this week. I don’t use any special bins but I take up two areas, one especially for shredding the leaves and pruning debris. It really is black gold for the garden.

  3. margaret says:

    Welcome, Sue…and sadly also goodbye? So long as everyone stays within the limits of decency, I welcome all opinions, including yours, in my comments, in true democratic spirit.

  4. margaret says:

    @Chris: I have so much raw debris that I just heap it up and wait for it to slowly degrade. Ideally I would pre-chop (shredder, or cut up the really large bits with my shears) but oy vey. A friend uses his mower and runs over piles of raked-up leaves to speed things. SO many ways to speed it (or just be lazy and wait years like I do, a luxury when the heap is bigger than the house…there’s always some finished stuff down under it).

  5. Betsy says:

    We have a rather large chipper that will do branches up to about 2″ diameter. I love doing the leaves in it too, they make a great mulch. Margaret, your screen is just like the one Pete made and they do work great. We’re lucky to have a municipal site right across the street from us where we are able to get free mulch, compost, and other salvageable plant material from city crews. Last year I did all my window box and planter holiday greenery for free from trimmings, and they were prettier than ever!

  6. chris says:

    margaret, do you shred compost first, at the front end if you will, before you sift at the back end?

    ok, john mccain is a great american. and sarah palin is an american. better?

  7. chris says:

    right, like i have done, but not as i will do. read an article about how prince charles’ organic garden shreds compost, and uses it within 6 weeks…a turn of season would be good enough to me.

    c’mon, margaret, give us some political poop, how you going to vote, with the blossoms of spring or the deadfall of winter? :>)

  8. HVFarmGirl says:

    Change, change, change. Food scraps to black gold, winter to spring, peas planted where the tomatoes grew last year. Change. That’s what makes a great garden.

    (Sorry. Couldn’t resist. You can pull this if you want!)


    Miss Farmgirl

  9. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening says:

    I know some gardeners who stockpile browns and greens and then make a pile, but we just throw everything on as it comes. That means the pile is pretty heavy on food scraps during the winter, but they’re frozen food scraps. In spring there will be a lot of brown clean up stuff, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

  10. chris says:

    just to follow up on kathy, i know that i can’t put food scraps out on the open compost pile as i would attract bears, raccoons, etc here in NE columbia county; instead i put kitchen scraps in an enclosed tumbler.

    still no word on margaret’s politics. that’s one smart gardenblogger we have here…

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