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Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Good Time of Year to Move and Use the Compost.

Compost Heaps - 

You can just let the compost sit there and rot but it will not make good compost quickly. If you want to speed the process up and get out some good compost to add to your soil and raised beds, now is a good time to do it.

I have two heaps for composting on the allotment, stored in a large 'compost bin' built from  wooden pallets that we were given. Now is a good time of year to get access to the compost that I have and to also turn over the materials that are still composting. 

Oddly it is a task that I enjoy doing, as by now I have enough experience to be able to look at the heap and know what to do with it. 

This week I have emptied one compost bin and used the finished compost at the bottom of the pile for adding to the raised beds. Any twiggy bits and  not yet composted items got chucked back in to make the start of the new heap. I also add some of the good stuff with the worms back into the new compost heap to give it a good start. Then I can start wok on the other bin and reap the benefits of the compost from that while adding the ingredients that need a bit more time to convert into the other bin. I am doing the compost heap a favour by turning it as I do this sorting process and it also incorporates air to the 'what was layers'.

Good compost does not smell and when it is ready the little red worms have usually left it to work on the next lot that needs converting. When I say it does not smell, I mean good compost is not stinky and does smell unclean. It smells in the way that the soil does after rain, which I quite like.

As I am putting the compost back into a heap I try to remember the principle of layering it. So if I think it needs more carbon layers I would add some to the new stack that I am building. carbons are also called browns while the nitrogen ones are called greens but this does not necessarily denote the colour of the items it is a reference to nitrogens and carbons in general.

List of some of the items I could add  to the compost bin that are carbon rich - 
  • dead dry leaves ( but they do compost slowly and make a great leaf mulch)
  • paper and cardboard.
  • straw
I tend to have mostly greens from garden waste so the carbons are often the ones I need to add.
Off now to turn that compost heap. 

a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote