Friday, November 13, 2009

The Dirty, Decaying Detritus of My Garden


Ever since I saw the compost bins at the Gene Stratton Porter gardens at Rome City, Indiana, shown to me by Earth Girl, I had compost bin envy. I knew this was something I wanted, something I needed for Our Little Acre.

It began quite simply. I picked a spot a little ways from the gardens and started throwing the results of deadheading, mowing, failed plant experiments, leaves, etc., on a pile.

Birth of a Compost Pile

By the time fall came, a large pile had accumulated. I worried that some of it might blow away over the winter, so I stretched some netting over it to hold it in place (garden staples worked great) and began planning a more permanent way to contain it.
In the spring of 2008, my ever-so-handy-and-helpful husband constructed a wood bin for the compost.


It has two doors that open outward so we can get to the compost easily when it's time to harvest it. I actually do that when it's not entirely broken down and work it into the ground in the fall. By spring, it has finished decomposing and the soil is all the better for it.

Currently, I've got some potted Irises sitting in the bin for overwintering. The compost will help keep the pots warm until spring, when I'll plant them in the gardens somewhere. I potted them up earlier this summer when I cleaned out the Irises and got rid of the Iris borers. These are in pots as replacements, if needed, for the replanted Irises. If all the others make it through the winter, I'll replant these in other locations yet to be determined.

Composting has been one of the best things we've ever done for the gardens here. I wrote previously about our compost bin in December 2008. You can read about it here: "The Circle of Life in a Compost Bin" and be sure to see what we found in the compost when we transferred it to the bin!

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Want to see some compost solutions from other gardeners? Visit
May Dreams Gardens and follow the links listed in the comments section there.

12 comments:

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Kylee, I have bin envy my girl. I love those and wish I had them. Maybe next year. Thanks for sharing your black gold with us.~~Dee

Muum said...

must be the season (fall :) My DH put together a new compost 'system' for me with some pallets. It has been heavenly!

Michelle said...

that's a really nice compost bin. i will have to make mine like that. I also want a tumbler for fast compost.

Silent Cal said...

Compost. Such a simple way to make a statement. Recycle your discards.....then enrich your plants and vegetables.

We have two tumbler composters here in Florida. One at one side of house....other at opposite side. We have a steady supply of compost and our flowers and plants thank us........and we feel good about it.

Shady Gardener said...

Great compost bin! You do have a wonderfully helpful hubby! :-) I love having generating compost... and somehow that passed to both my now grown-up children! Have a great weekend!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love your compost bins. I've just got one small one and I've been thinking about where we have the space for something bigger. I'm sure my husband will be very excited to know I've got another project for him to build :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yep, I have a little pile of compost. I will have to get a post up about it. I like your set up.

patientgardener said...

What a good idea to overwinter plants in the compost heap - might just pinch that idea

Earth Girl said...

Kylee, I remember your reaction to the compost bin at the site, which my husband built. Here at home, though, I just stack the compost at the end of my vegetable garden. Then each year, I expand the garden. It doesn't look very pretty but it works. I too like the idea of overwintering plants in the bin. I think I will do that at the site.

garden girl said...

That's a great compost bin Kylee. Mine's much more makeshift, made from chicken wire, but it works.

My little veggie bed has become the new spot for overwintering plants. If I had a compost bin as nice, and as large as yours, it would be a perfect overwintering spot.

Chiot's Run said...

I have green metal ones that I love from Gardener's. I have compost bin envy from the one they have at Longwood Gardens. Here are a few photos: http://chiotsrun.com/2009/03/20/three-bin-compost-system/

Carol said...

Those are beautiful bins, full of beautiful compost. Thanks for sharing them with us!

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