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Using Compost

posted Mar 29, 2013, 7:43 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 29, 2013, 7:43 AM ]
I've always believed that compost is a very important part of  gardening but I've mostly just read about it.  Now I'm trying to get more serious about it (see my blog below about experiments with a barrel composter).  Spring is late this year (2013) and I've been dying to get out into the garden so when the temperature got up into the 60s yesterday I decided to break open a compost pile I had built last summer and spread it on the garden.

From what I have read, composting will (should) break down the materials to the point that the individual pieces that went into the pile are unrecognizable .  I can't say thay was the case in this instance but the stuff smelled good.  Don't get me wrong, it didn't smell as good as Yvonne's perfume but it had that "earthy" smell that all gardeners recognize as "good."  So I went ahead and spread it on top of my raised beds.


My soil, like so many in the mid-Missouri area, has lots of clay and the subsoil is heavy clay.  Hence, it doesn't drain well.  I resolved to raise the beds to allow for at least the top 6-8 inches to drain well.  What you see in the image above are six raised beds.  The strawberry patch in the foreground is one, there are three beds to the right (the right-most hosts asparagus and rhubarb which had a top dressing of horse manure last fall), the narrow bed to the left has a hog fence above it to use as a trellis for tomatoes and vine crops (such as cucumbers and beans) and, not very visible in the image, is the berry bed (raspberries and blackberries) between the two posts in the right back.  There are two hills beyond where I will plant melons.

I spread 2-3 inches of the compost over the beds and will till this in when it dries a little (we got another 0.25 inch of rain last night).  

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