Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick Compost

In the olden days we used to get a dump truck load of chicken manure from a local chicken farm (there were several to choose from) for around $20 a load.  When we had our own dump truck, my garden was lush and beautiful every year.  When the truck got too old and we disposed of it, we had a local trucker bring the manure every year (he charged twice his normal fee and did it as a favor as the manure is very fragrant and hard to clean out of his truck completely).  Those were the good old days.  

I still plant a cover crop of winter rye every fall and till that in when I get ready to garden in the spring.  I still keep a compost pile that I put in the garden every spring, but my garden is large, so I can't make enough compost. I have had a hard time finding enough nitrogen for proper fertilization, so when I read an article in a Florida gardening magazine for "quick compost" I decided to give it a try.
You can see the winter rye that I have tilled in in the background.  I used one of my raised beds for the experimental composting project.  First step, weed the raised bed - second step - put 50 pounds of "cheap" dog food in the 6' x 3' (apx) area. Cheap being a relative term - this bag was nearly $20 at Costco.
After spreading the dog food evenly over the entire area, I applied the 35 pounds of "cheap" clay cat litter.
The recipe called for 25 pounds of alfalfa pellets - but no one seemed to carry those, so I used a one cubic yard bag of steer manure (the only cheap thing I found for this recipe at a dollar a bag) as the accelerator.
Then the back breaking job of turning all of this until it was fully mixed with a shovel.
Final step - cover with layers of newspaper 
Actually, the final final step was to wet everything down good, but fortunately, it rained hard all night, so I was spared that step.  
This better work!!