Friday, October 19, 2007

What Do You Compost?

Composting is a great way to feed your soil and recycle at the same time. Every place I have lived I have had a compost bin, except in Germany. But in Germany you have to recycle biological waste anyhow. Mr. Fix-it actually built me a compost bin once. He mitered the corners and has never lived that one down. You see, compost bins are for containing rotting biodegradable waste. I compost most everything in my garden. Bread, leftovers, fruit rinds, leaves, dead birds, spent flowers, small sticks, fish, cheese, shellfish shells, coffee ground, tea bags, you name it. I don't actually put chicken bones or leftover meat in the compost pile, but if i have leftover tuna casserole, in the compost it goes. Now everything you hear about composting says not to compost meat and dead animals because you will attract rodents. Ok folks, what gardener doesn't already have rodents? The last time I checked mice like fresh fruit just as well as they like meat and cheese and fish and tuna! The rodents are already in your garden! I know some very plump chipmunks who live close to my compost bin. The cat is just not doing her job well in the backyard because the dogs live there. The only thing reason I can think of not putting meat in your compost bin is because meat may attract skunks and raccoons, neither of which I have a problem with. So if you think you might have problems with bigger pests then by all means, don't add the fish and leftovers. My point is everything that was once living and is organic is going to rot and decay. Put it in your compost bin and once it has cured in about one year, add the "Black Gold" to your soil to feed the soil and recycle at the same time.
The shrub above is Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva', aka as Tardiva Hydrangea. It is a beautiful carefree hydrangea which blooms late in the summer. Make sure you give it a lot of room as it will grow fairly quickly to about 8 feet tall and wide. It can take sun and is more drought tolerant than the big head hydrangeas but will still need to be watered occasionally.
in the garden....


  1. Tina, I liked the post. I am a male Dragon and have a short attention span. This one is short sweet and to the point. I read your post most of the times. Ah I must admit on the longer ones I sometimes don’t make it to the end.
    Running the risk of sounding stupid, how dose one build a Compost Bin. A great man once said, “With all things in life there is a first time.” I don’t think I have even seen a compost bin. OK now, ya’ll can quite laughing out there. I have dazzled wifey-poo, even myself, with some of the projects I have done at the house. I must say I am lost as to what a compost bin should be. Should it be in the sun or the shade? I will soon have more leaves on the ground than I know what to do with. I would love to have some “Black Gold” for my plants.

  2. Hi Dragon,
    Good to hear from you. Couldn't have said it better myself about my blogs being too long. I am trying to shorten them down-straight to the point. I can be wordy-sorry. You are the third person this week who has told me and I surely appreciate it.

    Compost bins are very easy to build. I prefer mine in the shade but sun is fine as well. Either will work. You don't even need a bin perse, you can just pile your leaves in one spot. It helps to have them contained though. My compost bin has three bins each 4 feet wide by 4 feet long by 4 feet high. I use all three. I made mine of mine of wood but chicken wire can work. Sometimes people use cement blocks or even bales of hay. Compost bins need not be fancy. The trick is to make it fairly large-no smaller than 3x3x3, contain the matter and allow for some air flow and moisture from the rain. The rest is up to you! Pile up those leaves and look forward to black gold next summer. Any bio waste from the kitchen and yard will compost so it is very easy and economical. Happy composting!

  3. I like your great man comment, "With all things in life there is a first time." The first time is usually always the sweetest too!

  4. Tina. Thanks the information you supplied, it is most helpful. I now have a concept of what to do. I shall revere in the makings of Compost Bin. I think I might add some artistic value to it and make it in the shape of a Castle. All great Dragons have a Castle too, don’t they? Not sure if I would call the First Time the sweetest. But it sure was a lot of fun. There is a lot of First Times I recall vividly. Even dreamed about one last night.

  5. Ah yes, every Dragon has to have a castle to raid. That sounds neat. About first times, I should have said every first time is usually the most memorable-as I am sure your castle compost bin will be. Let me know how it comes along. A castle would easily fit into a yard. Good luck.