Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I need some help. Yesterday I mentioned the compost pile out in the north yard. That pile has been bugging me ever since we knew we were going to move here back in April of this year. We drove by this place an average of three times a week, and every time I'd think to myself, "That's has got to go." Eventually, however, I learned about the value of good compost on one's garden, so I let it go and let it grow.
Our overflowing compost pile is much bigger than the one pictured in today's edition of "Home" in the Spokesman-Review. Ours is partially wrapped of that orange, open-aired plastic fencing which is attached to four metal posts. It's about six feet high and maybe 10 feet long by 5 feet across. The pile has bulged far beyond its boundaries, and we've still got a yardful of leaves and shrubbery stems to add to it before the snow flies (which, by the way, it has flown at Schweitzer overnight---a full coating).
When I went to the Master Gardeners a few weeks ago, they told me about the importance of keeping track of the temperature and turning the stuff every so often. Knowing I had no idea how to tell the temperature of developing compost, I figured I could at least get started on the turning process.
So, the other day, with pitchfork in hand, I went to the pile with good intentions. Well, I think its mere size long ago prevented such notions. I'm especially sure of that after viewing this morning's picture in the paper, which showed a very manageable compost pile about one tenth the size of ours.
One stab of the pitchfork into the mass of grass clippings, kitty litter, goat poop, leaves, sod, and whatever else the previous owners threw into the mix told me I wouldn't be doing much turning. The pitchfork tines lodged themselves into the conglomeration and refused to move. By the way, for all compost aficionados, as of this morning, I also know that doggie do and kitty poodies are not desirable in compost. At this stage, however, it appears there's not much I can do to remove those faulty ingredients.
So, with my reading and my momentary experience at managing my pile, I know I've got a problem. What the heck does one do with an oversized, undermanaged, unsightly pile of garden, yard, and household cast-offs?
I've thought about just burning it and throwing the residue on top of my garden. Then, I'd go get a good book on compost, learn the process and start all over again. In the meantime, all sage advice will be read, thought about, acted upon and appreciated.