A ritual of spring here on the creek is to move the compost from the confines of the enclosed compost bin to an area where the composting work can be completed. A series of pallets screwed together became the composting center for this year. Bags of leaves picked up on the Charleston city sidewalks were added to the winter’s treasure of kitchen scraps.
A small amount of compost left at the winter site of the bin provided another opportunity for a second smaller compost garden. Inevitably several different plants started to grow out of the compost. The garden fun is to identify them and to decide which ones to watch grow into the summer.
This year we decided to let the butternut squash do its thing. It’s the magic of the season. And the magic of compost. Didn’t plant any seeds. Didn’t put in any fertilizer. Didn’t till at all. Weeds haven’t appeared– at least not yet And here we have butternut squash growing. (A zucchini plant slipped in there and we will harvest a few zucchinis before long as well) A little mulch around the plants is all the gardening time we needed for these plants.
I think of it as one of the many gifts of mother nature. Acceptance of and Gratitude for what comes from the compost garden is, for me, the underlying experience and lesson.
Marcelle St. Germain
After many, many years of observing the same phenomena of the compost pile and noting that the volunteers that grew in the compost pile seemed to be healthier and more productive than those grown in the garden, I began to get the hint. It was an “ah-ha” moment for a “duh” brain! Why not plant the garden IN the compost pile instead of in the garden which needed to be tilled and weeded?! I don’t get many easily understood revelations–but this one was a sure shot. Raised beds became small, sheet compost operations. My “tilling” and preparation occurs in the fall when most folks are wrapping up the garden chores. I have been known to take the pick-up truck all through town streets before the garbage truck to collect leaves and other yard materials. Sometimes I have really played my cards well and been paid to remove such materials!
All these materials are then layered into the garden beds and left until spring. Then planting the garden becomes sticking plants into the raised beds. Weeding becomes pulling the occasional culprit when I am either planting or harvesting.
All this fall work really pays off in healthier, disease- and insect-resistant plants. It really is magic!