Starting a Compost Pile

starting a compost pile

When I woke up this morning the headache was gone. Yay! I still feel kind of ‘draggy’ but is was really nice to be outside in the sunshine. The bird were singing and there was a gently breeze.

Another compost pile was started making six all together which won’t be near enough for next year’s garden. Before beginning the pile the soil was loosened as deep as the garden fork would easily go and all the weeds and rocks were removed from the area. Loosening the soil this way allows better air circulation and water drainage under the pile, plus it gets weeds and rocks out of the compost. Go ahead and water the loosened soil and then begin layering composting materials. Be sure to water the pile after each new layer to ensure equal moisture throughout. Dried corn stalks, green lima bean plants, hay, kitchen scraps, torn newspaper, and a little soil were layered to bring the new pile up to about two feet high. A good ratio for materials is 3 parts carbon (dried corn stalks, hay) to 1 part nitrogen (kitchen scraps, newspaper, green lima bean plants). A good size for a finished pile is 3’x4′; this size can be easily turned without too much strain on the back and it heats up nicely.  

Another few feet of bed was cleaned and made ready for digging. That means there is 150 square feet of planting bed for next year’s corn! Actually there are three 5’x10′ planting beds. These newly dug beds are in an area where only last year stood pine trees, brambles, and various vines – a real jungle, so they will be double dug this fall and planted with fava beans in the hopes of setting nitrogen for the corn. Fava beans have never been grown here before so it’ll be exciting to learn all about them.



2 thoughts on “Starting a Compost Pile

  1. Hi Gardener! Thanks for stopping by my new blog. it will be a while before I have it ready for the public!

    I was wondering if you took any of John Jeavon’s workshops? I have been interested in his Grow BioIntensive for a long time (long before he changed the name to ‘Grow’). I have not been able to really implement his methods completely yet and at the moment I don’t even have a garden. I do hope to in the near future. I watched his video’s recently and really enjoyed how it brought the concept to life. I am really interested in following along as you develop your market garden and I hope to learn from you…

  2. Thanks. I haven’t come across any Biointensive Gardening classes in my area. I’ve read John Jeavons’ How to Grow More Vegetables ,,, and The Backyard Homestead Mini-Farm and have read lots of information on sustainable agriculture, organic gardening, and composting. We are in the very early stages of setting up our garden and are working hard to implement most of the Grow Biointensive techniques. Close-space planting is an issue as we have very humid weather. Oh, I love those videos too!

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