Sunday, August 22, 2010

Adding nutrients

My experience with the raised beds in the mountains was an eye-opener. 

Fresh commercial compost supported a remarkable lettuce, chard, bean, and tomato harvest (and it's still coming).

So at home in the Piedmont, I've refreshed all of my turned-over beds with compost (with big bags of Brown Kow, a commercial cow manure compost product). 

I wish I had enough homemade compost to do it, but obviously, keeping nutrient availability high requires a LOT more that what I've been doing.  And I'm happier using Brown Kow (a venerable product that I've used in the past) than the 'compost' offered up as a generic big box equivalent.

I've sowed seeds of mesclun mix, arugula, cilantro, etc. in flats and directly in the soil. We'll see.

Happily, the asparagus beds are flourishing, too.  Woodchucks DON'T like asparagus.  Hooray!


  1. I can't make enough compost either...I've thought of getting a compost tumbler. Are they worth it? gail

  2. Gail,
    I don't think a compost tumbler will help us -- we need to take up rearing chickens, rabbits, goats, or cows!

    Tim and I eat gobs of vegetables and I compost EVERYTHING, and still need more nutrient-rich material for my vegetables.

    Kidding aside, either you've got to be really devoted to legume cover crops, or have a source of some sort of manure (or raise tilapia). Ha!

    Low nitrogen sources of organic matter (leaves, hardwood and softwood mulch, pine straw, etc.) are great amendments for perennials, shrubs and trees, but won't support nutrient-hungry vegetables.

    But, if you're just keeping up low-nutrient-needing native perennials, shrubs, and trees -- compost generation isn't so important.



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