As the days begin to shorten and the heat of summer is slowly disappearing… fall gardening becomes priority. Visions of collards, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots dance in my head. First things first… soil prep. Soil preparation is numero uno for a fall garden. So just erase that picture of collards for a moment. And focus. Focus!
That’s right… the compost bin!
A full compost bin is one of the most welcomed sights to any gardener. Many books give detailed instructions on how to maintain compost piles or create compost bins out of T-posts and wire mesh. These composting methods work for a lot of people who don’t have dogs. Our first compost bin was the T-post and wire mesh variety. I happily cut the tops out of milk jugs and filled them with egg shells and whatnot (no meat or dairy products). We emptied them into the bin (which we were quite proud of).
In just twenty-four hours, our wonderful cat and dogs dug out the scraps and ruined our bin. A quick call to my Aunt Nancy solved the problem. Nancy, who grew up on a farm in PA, told us to take an old garbage can and drill holes in the bottom. She said to make sure the lid could be secured to keep the rain off of the compost. Turning the compost is easily done with a pitch fork. We tried this method and love it for small-scale composting.
Good compost is like pear pie for plants. Only good for you. So maybe not pie for plants. You get the idea.
Spread out the good stuff. And till. Stop when the compost is completely turned over into your top soil.
Now you can start planting those fabulous cool weather nonacidic goodies: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips. Get those leaves together for more compost. You’ll need to compost again after this harvest. And what a harvest it will be: