Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Enriching your garden

Since it's spring It is time for gardeners to help out their garden beds, if they didn't get to it last fall or whatever. I will attempt to talk about what I have done to help others and my own garden without looking for somebody out there that says it better.

In this neck of the woods it's a good idea to top your beds with about 1 inch of organic material a year. This approximates the amount of organic material that will break down into nutrients for your plants. If you are starting out with poor soil, you might consider going considerably thicker than that. Then you can mix it into your beds as deeply as you either have the personal energy or cash to pay someone else(like me) to mix it in for you.

I get my compost from a local supplier, usually Agrecycle who is the same place I go to drop off my yard waste. In theory we all should keep our yard waste on our own property and compost it ourselves but... maybe you just moved in somewhere where the soil is really poor. You really are better off bringing in some organic stuff that has already been composted. Composting takes time! Maybe you don't have room. Personally, I don't exactly have a compost heap. I still have a few areas that I dump some yard waste, that is areas that are sorta weedy still that I haven't fixed up yet. This yard waste helps(I HOPE) keep down the weeds. Anyway, last year I imported a LOT of compost to my yard. This compost by the way is made of the yard waste that is brought to them and composted for 8 months or so. It's good stuff and is almost always full of happy earthworms.

Last fall I had a customer that had me top her bed with as much compost as would fit. Her beds were in decent shape but now she doesn't have to really do anything with them for a few years if she chooses. It's sorta traditional to do compost in the spring, because things are growing and compost's nutrients are pretty available and to top with mulch in the fall. Mulch is not as broken down and it helps insulate many plants that may be a little tender. Really in a year most mulch resembles compost anyway, depending on how thick it is spread and what kind it is. The mulch I prefer is 'double shredded bark'. It smells nice, sorta like sandalwood to me and is dark. It just makes me think of rich people's houses.

Some people do raised beds which depending on how raised they are and perhaps whether the soil is toxic should be filled with soil and then topped with some compost.

If you liked that lovely picture of my truck click on the composting label below.

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