Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Lazy Composting

peasIt’s pea-planting time in New Jersey. I ordered my peas and inoculant; they are sitting and awaiting my having the time and energy to plant them. I already dug a trench where I want them planted.

Digging the “trench” (it’s only about 3 inches wide) was easy because the “dirt” in that spot is a mound of compost. When I started composting, I used to put all my compost scraps in one corner of my yard. But come planting time, I then need to transfer a heap of the stuff to my garden spot. Also, I found the chicken wire I originally used more of a nuisance in terms of turning the compost than a help. Instead, I now pile the scraps one season earlier in the spot where I will later plant. The compost may not be fully de-composed, but that’s OK.

What do I put in my compost? Vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grinds, egg shells. Animal products are a no-no, as they attract rodents and other unwanted creatures. Every time I put down a pile of these kitchen scraps, I cover it with some soil. That will help keep away any flies. Also, the scraps needs soil to decompose. I also add layers of garden “waste” such as dried weeds with no flowers, dried grass, thin sticks. Every now and then I turn the pile (except in winter; impossible to do when the ground is frozen!).

Key elements in compost are: air (turn it sometimes), moisture (add a bit of water if it hasn’t rained much), soil and/or manure, carbon and nitrogen (which you get from the kitchen and garden wastes).

You can read more about composting online (try, for example) or from a book (I own The Rodale Book of Composting). But my suggestion is: try it! Ask questions as you go along. You don’t need to be a chemist to make compost.

therapydoc says

Oh, FD would love this compost thing.

Leora says


Cool! I'll do one on my past adventures in seed starting soon. And maybe photograph my kitchen compost bucket?


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