Patience is the key to compost success

Did you ever get pig-headed about something? (And don’t say, “no” because nobody is going to believe that.)

I have been very pig-headed about my compost. I always do what I torleyheader062314always did, what I learned as a kid. All the grass clippings and leaves were raked into a big pile and covered or they were dumped in a barrel with kitchen waste and left to mature.

Once they were ready, they were used in the garden. So, that’s what has been done with my piles here, although I usually add cow
manure to the mix, and I thought my plants were doing well.

That’s what I thought until I saw my friend’s garden. She takes her kitchen waste and buries it directly in the garden soil or one of her fallow elevated beds where it is quickly worked on by worms, bugs, and beetles. Her soil is ready for planting long before I am ready to use my compost. Dang, I have to change my ways.

So that’s what I did this morning, I changed my ways. There was a big bag of veggie scraps in the refrigerator so I took them down and buried them in the garden beds. Unlike Shirley, though, I covered the bed with black plastic and weighted it down. This, I think, will hasten the composting process and make the soil available sooner, a good thing. With any luck, it will also inhibit weeds and their seeds, another good thing.

But what about those clippings and leaves? We still have to go through the process of mixing them with manure and letting them mature, for nothing else than to kill the weed seeds and soften the nutrient content of the manure. This is especially important now that I will be using horse manure instead of cow manure. The difference? Cows double chew the grass so the end product is a better quality. Ah well, patience is a virtue in a gardener.

But that gives rise to an impatient thought: Perhaps mixing the clippings with the manure then putting it directly on the garden beds and covering it all with black plastic would also work.

Anyway, I have given up my pig-headed idea that what I learned from mom had to be right. Now I think that Shirley has the right answer. Time will tell, but I wonder what else I was taught was wrong. Since this is the tropics and not New Jersey, I probably still have a lot of learning to do.

How about you?

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