Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Prepping the ground pt 2


So on the last post I showed you how we add leaves to our compost and gardens to add lightness to the soil...which the plants love as they have loads of nooks and crannies to grow huge root systems. 

Now its time to talk about other ways in which you can help keep the nutrients in your soil.  We actually add soil directly into our soil....does that even make sense?  Ok, I'll illustrate...

top left: planter soil, top right: end of the season plants, bottom: more leavings
Planter Soil
We have a lot of planters around...we use them for herbs and cherry tomato plants, but we also have a lot of houseplants.  Sadly, our houseplants do very well all summer long on the back porch, but they barely survive indoors in the winter time.  Between the lack of direct sunlight on a lot of our windows and our menacing cat called Buster...they don't stand a chance.  Usually I need to make tough decisions in the fall.  Which plants will I save and which will I use for compost?  Once I've decided...I dump the soil from the planters directly on our garden patch (as shown in the top left hand picture)

End of Season/Leavings
Once the plants in your garden are spent (meaning not giving you glorious fruit or veggies any more) then you can leave the stalks and leaves right in your garden!  We pull ours up to speed up the decomposition process.  Pull and leave then directly on your garden patch.  Easy!  (as shown on the top right hand picture)

The bottom picture shows our main garden patch with the leaves from our parsnip plants.  It this time of year that everything else is spent in our garden, but we still have parsnips to dig up!  We wait for the first few frosts, then dig them up for the best flavour. 

Since we use a roto-tiller in the spring time, there is no reason why the composter must do all of the work with the heavy parts of plants.  The stalks are tough to break we let the winter and the tiller do the work for us.  Keeping in mind that the plant parts themselves must be free of parasites and other harmful things...if they do we burn them in our burning bin...(I like to play it safe, but this is overkill....and if you have an urban garden, this may not be allowed).  Healthy plants parts still contain nutrients that will break down over time and again leaving room for the roots of next years plants to grow strong.

Next post:  MANURE! 

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