Thursday, June 9, 2011

Compost, Volunteers and New Followers

I've read that compost piles need three things. One, they need the right combination of "green" and "brown" material.  Two they need aeration. And three they need water. We go the extra mile to meet this standard. For example, this year we bagged dry leaves in the fall and are using them now to balance the superabundance of "green" compost. And we collected Starbucks Coffee grounds last winter to balance the superabundance of "brown" compost we had at that time. We also aerate by setting a  large hole filled tube into the middle of the pile (you should see the steam coming out of it in the winter).

What we never anticipated was the help that our chickens and the local squirrel population would give us. The chickens aerate by scratching the pile, but they don't dig very deeply. The squirrels on the other hand, aerate the pile by burrowing deep into the center where we've placed a cache of acorns for them to eat. We never planned on having their help, but now we know! With an abundance of wild nut trees on the property, we'll be enlisting their services for years to come.

A special thanks to Allison Russell and the Apple Pie Gal for becoming followers of our blog. We hope you enjoy the site, return often and share your thoughts. We'll certainly be visiting the Apple Pie Gal, and think you should too:

We don't have pictures of the squirrels and their work, but we do have pictures of the several volunteer plants that our compost has given us this year. So here they are, a tiny garden all to themselves.

Squash boldly growing right on top of a pile. If you look closely you can see the tube were using for aeration.
A single stock of corn behind the compost bin. Sorry corn stalk, but it takes two to pollinate.You'll have to just be pretty.
1 of 4 or 5 tomato plants that have grown sideways out of the back of the compost bin through the garden fence and joined our pea patch. We have no idea whether they'll produce.
Here's a shot of the girls cooling themselves under a peach tree in a pile of composted dirt.
Here's a close-up.


  1. Awe, well thank you! I have very much enjoyed you as well! Glad our paths have crossed!!

    Never thought to put acorns down in the compost pile! That is an awesome idea! We certainly have bajillions of squirrels. And the pipe is good too although our big pile is waaaay out back and in the winter, this gal don't go there ;)

  2. Nice compost heap there. I found that self-sowed vegetables are very hardy and they produce many and much faster than the ones with TLC.

  3. It's always interesting to see what will grow out of the compost bins. One year we had "The Little Shop of Horrors" squash. It would grow a foot in five directions every day! Last year I had a cherry tomato plant that grew along the side of the bins. It did very well and produced a lot of fruit.

    Isn't this cooler weather just great??? I hope that you didn't have bad storms yesterday and everything is A-OK

  4. The compost pile may be the best looking vegetables I got growing now ;) Plus it is fun to see just what comes up in there, its a surprise every time.

  5. Apple Pie Gal, I'm glad too. Happy gardening adventures.
    Malay-Kadazan girl, Thank you, the volunteer squash plant is much hardier than the 5 plants we sowed this year, that's for sure. I don't expect the tomato plants to produce. They probably came from an old hybrid.
    Robin, This cooler weather is wonderful. There's still hope for our cauliflower!

    I wasn't home when the storm picked up, but I saw it coming, so I left a meeting, frantically called Bel, and asked her to get out and stake down the chicken coup. She was afraid because there was lightning, but she bravely went out anyway, and with an old baseball bat, she managed to pound a couple stakes down.

    C. James was on the phone with me while she was out in the weather asking what would happen if she died. Then just about the time I felt like I was traumatizing my kids and endangering my wife, everything calmed down, Bel came in, and C. James went back to pretending he was a policeman. Whew!

    Jane, I feel the same way. Our tomatoes and peppers are a terrible disappointment this year.