Friday, March 27, 2009


You got yourself a whole mess of compost pictures and videos here today. It was a nice afternoon , so I cut out of work a little early and headed home to play in the dirt. Quinn and I stirred, turned, chopped and piled the compost. It was absolutely amazing. All the books told me not to use leaves and not to use wood chips in my compost. Well this pile is just about nothing but leaves and wood chips - layered with mushroom manure. Let me tell you it couldn't have been cooking hotter. Steam was just cascading off the pile as I dug and turned it. The whole pile looks beautiful. Keep in mind this contains an entire winter's worth of cardboard boxes, paper bags, rope, banana peels, avacodo cores, apple cores, jimmy johns cups, and even two "compostable plastic cups" (see photo). Just about everything was broken down. Even the compostable cups are well on their way to decomposition.

This isn't my first foray into composting. I have had a couple smallish piles for years, but these two 25 cubic foot bins are an operation unlike any that I have ever had before. First off the quantity is astounding. After my work this afternoon, I have one completely full bin. Inside this bin are 2 full truck loads of wood chips, two full truckloads of mushroom manure, an entire fall worth of raked leaves and an entire winter worth of kitchen scraps. That is an amazingly big pile! I actually think we are going to have enough compost this year. The other astounding thing is how quickly this stuff is breaking down. Keep in mind these piles sat dormant and frozen for most of the winter. Only three weeks ago on 3/7 did I activate them for the first time by layering in manure and stirring them. Now on 3/27 they are just burning up, and breaking down. It is utterly amazing. I said in my last post that I thought we would have compost by June. Well that seems ridiculous to say today. Heck we can start pulling compost out of this finished pile in a couple weeks if we need it. All we need to do is wait for it to cool down a little. Check out the video above of the steam coming off of the compost pile.

I did some planting today also...
  1. buttercrunch lettuce seeds approx 30 in chimney garden
  2. romaine lettuce seeds approx 30 in traditional cold frame
  3. spinach - approx 15 transplants, and 10 seeds in cold frame
  4. 5 red cabbage transplants in cold frame
  5. 3 buttercrunch lettuce transplants in cold frame
  6. 2 brocolli transplants in cold frame
  7. 14 onion transplants in cold frame
I also fashioned ribs for the cold frame out of some 1/2 pvc piping that I had laying around the basement. These ribs should help allow the rain to cascade off of the cold frame and not puddle. They also give the plants a little more room as they start to grow.

A little later in the evening I did some indoor seed starting...
  1. 12 california wonder (shumway 2008) bell peppers
  2. 12 serano hot peppers
  3. about 10 aneheim chili peppers started in wet paper towel and plastic bag to see if they have any life to them at all.
  4. transplanted one delphium to a larger pot
  5. transplanted one foxglove to a larger pot

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