Monday, September 30, 2013

Cooking up Compost

            I have been doing this homesteading thing for a few years now, and I'm always learning. I have taken an interest in compost. That is normally my hubby's job. Physical labor just isn't my thing. But lately with all that has been going on in my life, I've felt the need to be outside, breathing fresh air and MOVING.

            This spring I had made my own raised bed garden using a real bed frame. I like to use what we got...know what I mean? Anyway, my daughter helped me with this project...she did a lot of sighing and shaking her head. We hauled the bedframe across the yard to the perfect spot in the middle of the orchard. Hey, the trees are small yet, I figured it wouldn't hurt...didn't think about having to mow the grass.  Then we took my little truck to Lowes and picked up some bags of dirt and plants.  I felt so empowered....I AM WOMAN!!!!! driving my truck hauling some dirt...grunting and aping like a daughter did a lot of sighing then too. And giggling.  I drove my reverse...through my yard to the bedframe.  Oh it was so exciting! The memory still makes me smile.  Then I remembered I should really have some compost mixed in with the topsoil. So, my Diva daughter and I drove the Mule(glorified golf cart) over to the pile the guys had made when they cleaned out the pens. I scraped off the top layer to find the lovely composted stuff and loaded up the back of the buggy and hauled it over to the frame. I also put down a good layer of newspaper as a weed barrier and then my composted bedding and then the topsoil on top of that. I planted Kale and Kohlrabi. I have to say, it flourished. We were eating kale all summer. I planted in May and just pulled the plants today. They still had new leaves coming on, but I wanted to try growing garlic. According to the Amish lady at the Market,  I need to plant it tomorrow. I  cleaned out the bed, fed what plants were left to the goats and pigs. I scraped the last of the compost pile up and hauled it over and spread it around, mixing with the existing dirt. I have one bag of topsoil left so I'll add that on in a bit and tomorrow I will plant my garlic cloves. From what I have read I need to add a layer of mulch over top to help them winter over, and then in spring scrape the mulch off of the shoots. I think I am going to rake up the leaves and then mow them using the bag attachment, instant free mulch.

            OK, So my interest in compost has been peaked because we don't do anything to make just happens by accident when we clean out pens and pile up the bedding. I want to make compost on purpose. I want to see how all this works. I want a steaming pile of nutrient rich compost that I can add to my garden without worrying that I'll plant wheat seeds or weed seeds.

            I'm forming a plan. I just swept out one pen, a holding pen we used for the piglets until they were big enough to go outside...It is dry and fluffy. Then I have the broiler pen, where we brooded the chicks for the first 4 weeks...that is damp and gross. I think If I layer those two, I'll have the start for my "on purpose" compost pile. 
             Right now? I have to hunt out my child, who is not filling out the names of the 50 states on his map. This homeschooling deal is making me a little crazy...while he is great about math and science...getting him to do any writing for purposes other than his own, is difficult...that is putting it mildly, because sometimes I'm not so nice a teacher.....

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