Sunday, February 26, 2012

Composting in the veggie garden

I love to garden and used to spend evenings after work and hours on the weekends. My time is limited now but I've made an effort to get out there for the last few months preparing the vegetable garden.

I've had great veggie years when I am giving lettuce away and make bumper crop zucchini pancakes every day and I've had years when I feel lucky to get one tomato.
This year I've decided to invest extra effort into getting the soil ready and planting a bit earlier than usual to give my crop a chance to grow nice root systems while the weather is cooler.

First I dug out the entire bed - this is the lower of my two vegetable beds.  Next I prepared my compost. I've been an avid composter for about 15 years.   My current system seen below left were built by my husband.  These are stackable sections so that the bin size can be adjusted and moved around.  There was a third in the middle but the compost actually ate the wood and now we make do with two.  One is for new scraps straight from the kitchen and yard and the other is for compost that is getting ready to be used.

I hope the picture of the worms doesn't gross you out.  I love them!  When I see worms I know things are good in the garden. 

I emptied one whole compost pin into the bed, it wasn't fully composted but I knew I was going to cover it in a weed barrier and let it sit for awhile, composting further in the bed.  I cover the whole bed in a compostable layer of thick brown paper which I bought at a gardening center.  You can easily do the same with newspaper, layering overlapping pages.  Finally I covered the whole thing with organic wood chips.

I let the bed sit like this for a few weeks and have slowly been planting...some tomatoes, lettuces, parsley, kale, sage and onions so far.  I've mixed in some marigolds to attract beneficial insects. 

Today I will work on the upper bed which my husband dug out for me.  I will do seeds in the upper bed; varieties of pole beans, radish and carrots.

If all goes well I will have pictures of a lush thriving vegetable garden soon!

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