A Front Yard Gardener's Tales and Adventures

Friday, February 19, 2010

How to spend an hour on a snowy day...

...creating a compost cocktail!

What I used:
cinderblocks, scrap wood (leftover from James' coldframe supply scavenge) and bamboo poles lying around the backyard

What goes into the ultimate compost:
1. our old "special compost" pile, consisting of organic food scraps from Abbo, Builder and our own garden, mixed into the topsoil at the end of our lettuce bed
2. coffee grounds (most coffee shops or juice bars will give you these if you're not a coffee drinker at home)
3. organic veggie pulp obtained from a juice bar (you must sign a waiver to take it home - don't eat it!)
4. wheat grass mats, also from a juice bar

I started by building a little wall around the area I want to fill with compost cocktail. Always start with the perimeter and define your boundaries.

Then I turned over the soil and the old "special compost" pile that had been living in that spot since the fall. To my surprise, many of the veggie scraps still looked vibrant and green! They've been living in the cold, snowy ground like it's a refrigerator. I stabbed at it with the tip of the shovel almost parallel to the ground to aerate the soil and break up the scraps a little.

In went the veggie pulp and the mixing continued.

I also threw in some old squash seeds as an experiment. If a few sprout when it gets warm, I'll let them be and see how they do. They are in an unobtrusive spot, but it may be too shady for them to thrive. We'll find out! I call this the Juliatific Method...not quite scientific, but experimenting and observing nonetheless.

Then I just covered it up with some boards and a plastic lid I found out back. As another experiment, I put one mat of wheat grass on a little patch to compare whether the compost underneath breaks down more quickly. The boards and wheat grass mat can all be easily lifted to add to the cocktail.

I plan to continue adding the aforementioned cocktail items and turning it over for the next few months. Hopefully it will result in delicious, black, nutritious garden food come summer!

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