Monday, January 12, 2009

Time to Turn the Compost

It was nice outside today. While I spent the afternoon inside doing the Financial Reports for my Soroptimists' Club, Aries was outside turning the compost pile. It had broken down and compacted since he built it last October (shown then in this photo). It had reduced in size by half and completely cooled off. So he pulled the wire ring off and broke it all apart. In our desert climate, compost can quickly dry out, stopping the decomposition process. It needed to be wet down again (of course, some of the chickens were immediately underfoot - there might be something good in there, you know). Then, everything soaked and stirred, he piled it all back in the wire bin, and covered it to keep any winter snows from leaching too many of the goodies out. We'll check in another day or so to see how high the temperature jumps - the hotter it is, the more that lets us know there was still stuff in there to be broken down. Depending on the weather, he'll probably turn it again in early March, and I'll start working the finished compost into my summer garden beds the end of April.

One 50' bed, the "Early" bed, I prepped last fall with the last of last summer's compost. One-third of that bed was planted then with garlic and shallot bulbs, and seeded with spinach and arugula to overwinter for my earliest Spring salads. They're just now starting to sprout. The rest of that bed is lying there waiting, ready for when I can seed lettuces and peas, and set out onions - probably in early April.

When we get these nice 50º January days, like it's supposed to be the rest of this week, my fingers start itching to get out there and start playing in the dirt. The 20º nights, and the certain knowledge that winter is far from over brings me back to my senses. I'll have to content myself with going through my garden catalogs. The garden of my January imaginings is always so much greener anyway.


Anonymous said...

Looking at your country surrounds, it reminds me of here in west aussie in the summer. Have you thought about wicking beds for the heat you get there, brilliant water savers! There is a link to explain them under my "how to" section on the right of my blog:)

Nancy M. said...

I've been wanting to ask you a question. I really want to have a garden this spring. How can I keep my free-ranging chickens and guineas out of it? Do you put something around your garden? How do you keep them out? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a great post!