…it's a passionate obsession.

Posts tagged “compost

Today, I was on a mission. And the mission; to plant out the pumpkins.

Every day this week they’ve screamed at me, “plant me plant me,” as I’ve walked past the coldframe in which they’ve sat. “I will I will,” I’ve cried back in an apologetic manner. And nooooo, I haven’t gone insane, I really did hear them say this. Haha.

In fact, everything in the coldframes needs planting out in their final spaces. I think this year has been very testing, with all this rain lately, getting out into the garden has been very difficult. However, the weeds are loving it and I’ve noticed they are starting to develop a right little attitude, much to my annoyance.  I haven’t said anything out loud, but between you and me, they’re next on my hit list. Mwa ha ha. Now where was I, oh aye…..  Today thankfully, the sky above stayed overcast long enough for me to complete this mission, of which, there are many.

For anyone planting pumpkins for the first time, here’s a step by step – it’s never failed me yet.

1. Dig a hole – a spade deep as wide.

2. Fill the hole with plenty of compost – here I’ve used my own homemade-compost but shop bought is as good, for those who are feeling the money.
3. It took 2 florist sized buckets to fill. Pumpkins are very greedy and need plenty of rich organic matter – do not skimp at this stage.

Homemade-compost. Perfection, if I do say so myself.

4. Time to pop in the plant. Stop !! Check plant for any yellow or damaged leaves and remove them. Plant it slightly deeper then when, it was in its pot. They often send out roots higher up on the stem.

5. Back fill over the compost with the garden soil that came out of the hole, and sprinkle 2 handfuls of fertilizer around the plant. Water in.

6. Step back and admire your hard work. This variety is called Jack O’ Lantern and usually grows to a size slightly bigger than a football – perfect for carving. Also, these need a spacing of no less than a metre each way. I know what your thinking, don’t do it, I have in the past – and it was a nightmare !!

7. And finally; one I carved out last Halloween !

Stay tuned, for further updates about pumpkin growing throughout the season. There’s more!!

A Composting Recipe

The most asked about question I read or hear is, “How do you make compost?” Well, from my experience there’s only 3 elements that need to be right, right from the beginning. These are air, heat and moisture.

Its not the grass, twigs, leaves or veg peelings that are solely responsible for making compost, although they are a very important. Its the micro-organisms that really do the hard work and they are the ones you need to keep happy. Microbes work best when there is plenty of air, heat and moisture so they can break down organic matter in a effective way. By not providing these microbes with the right environment, with the right food in the right way, may, result with a substance that resembles a slimy gooey mess. Not ideal !!

1. Compost holders, ideally should be made from wood with narrows gaps between the panels to let in air.
2. Covering the top of your compost holder with black pastic and a piece of carpet helps to keep it warm.
3. Control the moisture, don’t be afraid to water your compost when it starts to dry out. The mixture should be kept moist at all times !!!

Very important this – you also need to add the same amount of BROWN waste as green. ‘Browns’ provide microbes with a food source, without it, they will die or not work to their full potential.

BROWN ITEMS – things like

•Pine needles
•Twigs, chipped tree branches/bark
•Straw or hay
•Corn stalks
•Paper (newspaper, writing/printing paper, paper plates and napkins, coffee filters)
•Dryer lint
•Cotton fabric

Also needed is green waste these help microbes grow and multiply.

GREEN ITEMS – things like

•Grass clippings
•Coffee grounds/tea bags
•Vegetable and fruit scraps
•Trimmings from annual plants
•Annual weeds that haven’t set seed
•Animal manures (cow, horse, sheep, chicken, rabbit, etc. No dog or cat manure.)

Ideally, when putting green and brown waste into bin/holder they should be alternatively layered, although this is not always possible.

My composting bins

Every 3 months or so, turn the contents over because a compost bin/holder is aerobic – it needs plenty of air. If its of the plastic kind, every 2-3  weeks because a plastic bin provides a more anaerobic (without air) environment, not really ideal for providing all 3 elements which are, air, heat, moisture.   By missing just one of those 3 elements, composting will not be as successful and take longer to produce.

If you choose to make your own holders yourself, like I have here. Build them to a design that will give you easy access to its contents.

                                         Happy composting !!!