Saturday, April 21, 2012

Compost – The Vital Ingredient

New Beds Get Compost

The compost bin was full and I needed to remove the ‘black gold’ from the bottom.  The door slides up – but my back does not bend these days.  So, I disassembled  the bin.  Simple(r)!
I set up the bin a few feet over, and started my treasure hunt.  By returning the raw material to the bin, I

soon had uncovered the ‘good stuff’. 100_0411 100_0418100_0412

Compost should be grainy, moist, and have an earthy small.  If it smells like garbage, it should be allowed to decompose longer.

I had a full wheelbarrow full of compost.  I spread it onto the new border garden – formerly the ground under the pine tree. 

These shrubs have been moved here from a too shady area.  They are a pretty pink Clethera called ‘Pink Summersweet’. Hopefully, I can get them to fill in and become ‘bushier’.  In their previous location, they became spindly and did not bloom well.  I have spread the compost at the base and with the extra sun, I’m hopeful they will revive.


As the stump of the pine tree is ground to the ground, it is still ‘in the ground'. We are going to use it to be a base for a birdbath for the next few years, until the stump decomposes.

100_0415 100_0416

These Azaleas are theBloom ’N Again® series, call "Arabesk".  These evergreen shrubs are hardy to Zone 6 - 9 and are hybridized to bloom throughout the summer. They need light shade – to bloom well. The soil should drain well and be slightly acidic.


The compost added to the planting holes will allow the soil to hold moisture without being soggy.
To determine the pH of your soil, a soil test needs to be done.  The local extension office or lab can give you a report on the elements of your soil.

Seven on the pH scale is considered ‘neutral’.  Below 7 is acid, above 7, is considered alkaline.  These BloomNAgain® azaleas need acid, so the reading needs to be below 7.  I’ve had to add Aluminum Sulfate to my soil to lower the pH into the acid range.

Back to the compost bin – I returned the raw coffee grounds, filters, old oranges, and egg shells to complete the decomposing process.  Since the mix was pretty dry, I added some liquid to the mix.

The beer has yeast, and adds fuel to to the brew. Off and running on a new batch!

Thanks for stopping by today.  c


Sunray Gardens said...

Your compost looks nice and rich. Hopefully you have better luck under the Pine. I know that can be challenging in itself but you are definitely giving things a good start.

Cher Sunray Gardens

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

So much great info.
I've started the dig a hole and throw everything in approach. Next year I dig a new hole. I'm harvesting amazing compost/soil from the area where I do this and the plants are rewarding me.