Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Compost Hole Method, Part 2

Please see Compost Hole Method, Part 1.

Step 6, on your right: Sweep your floor, or gather fall leaves or twigs, or tear up junk mail. Animal hair (as shown) or even human hair is a great addition. It tends to discourage rodents, it adds slow release nitrogen, and it helps keep the soil from compacting--which allows it to breathe and provides plenty of habitat for soil microorganisms to colonize.

Step 7: Layer dry organic matter into the top of your hole, alternating with crumbled soil. Here we see pet hair, which is a nice slow release source of nitrogen.

Step 7, continued, on the right: Fallen leaves and twigs also make good materials to layer with soil as you fill the hole. They will prevent compaction, provide pathways for roots, and food and habitat for micro-organisms. As they break down they also provide nutrients for your plants.

Step 7 continued, on the left: Layer in dry organic matter . . . here it is a torn up cellulose egg carton . . . Which will have the same effect as dry leaves. Junk mail, newspaper, cardboard, really any dry organic matter you have handy will work.

Step 8, on the right: Top off with a layer of crumbled dirt.

Step 9, on the left: Smooth the surface.

Step 10, on the right, optional: Build a mini berm to keep the seeds from washing or blowing away. The same effect can be accomplished by leaving the the hole slightly depressed, however as the organic matter decomposes the soil level will subside leaving a nice watering basin at the base of your plants.

Continued in Part 3.

All text and photos Copyrighted, 2011, Harvest McCampbell

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