Like a lot of our neighbors, we have a little vegetable garden at the cottage, tucked away out behind the camp. We’ve been gardening at the camp for years and it has become a tradition as well as a source of delicious fresh vegetables in the summer.
Cottage gardens are a little bit of work, but the beauty of them is, you can spend as much or as little of your time working in your garden as you want. Of course, like most things, the success of a garden depends on how much time you spend developing it.
I am the first to admit, I am not a good gardener. In fact, I am not really a gardener at all, although each year I grow tomatoes, beans, carrots, cucumbers, onions, and more in our little garden plot. The garden seems to grow inspite of me, or rather inspite of my lack of attention to it, beyond the basics. I do enjoy roto-tilling the soil in the spring, prefaring it for planting, making the rows, planting the seeds and transplants, and of course, watering the garden occasionally, which involves playing with the garden hose, what guy doesn’t like to play with the garden hose? Especially if Wendy comes out to see what I am doing…wearing a white tee shirt….but that is another story…..let’s get back to composting shall we?
One other thing that I am interested in, is composting. I love composting, or the idea of composting. Turning kitchen and yard waste into something useful is just something that…well…it turns me on….. Adding compost to your garden improves the soil in many ways, it loosens clay soils, (which is what our garden has, clay) and helps the soil to hold moisture which is important in these days of hot sun courtesy of global climate change. Composting materials also encourage plant growth and root development, all the while adding important nutrients to your garden, nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Typically some of the things found in commercial fertilizers, but in a more natural form.
We have a composter in our backyard in the city. All I ever put in it are some grass clippings, leaves and occasionally a little soil. I don’t put any kind of food waste into it, except for something like corn husks or the occasional rotting apple. No meat, ever. Meat is too much of an attraction for everything from rats to skunks to raccoons to coyotes, even to neighborhood dogs. I stick with plant materials for all intents and purposes. Of course whenever I get the garden hose out, I put some water on it too. It hasn’t been very successful. Yes, I get a little bit of compost from it, but truthfully, not near enough to be worthwhile. Nor does it happen with any regularity. I get a little compost each year, maybe a full shovelfulls. Not enough to make much difference to my garden.
However, composting in itself is almost a hobby. It is a project so to speak, and like checking the garden to see if it is growing, I check my composter frequently to see if it is composting. It’s a little like checking paint to see if it’s dry…or watching it dry. But these days, with landfills quickly filling up, restrictions on the amount of garbage your municipality will collect, composting makes sense. It will reduce your garbage and give you something back in return.
Composting takes time, it’s a fairly slow process, we’re talking a year or so to see results, at least that has been my experience. I know that there are things you can do to speed up the process, and many of them can be found in a great website I found, called Compost Guide: Tips for Home Composting
Created and written by a fellow named Lars, who is a home gardener and certified master composter out of Dallas, TX. I didn’t know that a person could become a “certifed master composter” but apparently anything is possible, as Lars is one. His site is packed with what I would describe as pretty much all you need to know about how to compost successfully. He explains the compost process, tools, various compost bins, along with lots of tips to make your composting successful. In addition, Lars provides his contact information on his website and offers to answer your composting questions if you email him.
So if you have a garden at the cottage, vegetable or flower or both, and you are into composting or thinking about trying it, check out Compost Guide: Tips for Home Composting
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