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Compost management

By Penny Stine



Although I bought a bunch of alpaca poop to use as a fertilizer in my garden, I didn’t have enough to spread everywhere, so I decided to see if my compost bins have been doing what they’re supposed to. I have this tall black one that I stir with a pitchfork every now and again. During irrigation season, we have a drip hose with a small spray emitter that keeps it continuously moist, which speeds up the compost process, as does the heat.




When I stuck my shovel in the bottom, I was quite pleased to find quite a bit of decomposed material at the bottom of the bin.I spread it by the shovelful all over that portion of the garden. Using compost from my garden and from the kitchen waste has been a great way to spread seeds all over the place, which is why I get tomatillos sprouting everywhere.





My husband built me this open air compost bin a few years ago after I saw one that a local gardener used. She did a better job of managing her compost than I do, and had one bin that was all nice and decomposed. Mine has sat there, looking like a holding container for dead grass.
I dug into it, however, and discovered that underneath the grass, branches and sticks, there was some decomposed matter, which I promptly shoveled out and used to condition the soil where I was planting potatoes.