Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DIRT : the compost piles

Why not start off the blog with what is likely the most important part of a garden, the DIRT. My husband has absolutely no interest in gardening precisely because of the DIRT. Nothing makes me happier than seeing it under my nails at the end of the day. Want better dirt? Compost.

There are compost piles under those squash leaves.
In the past few years, composting has become common for a lot of gardeners. Rather than deplete the soil by just growing food, we need to grow the soil too. I'm no expert on this and I will admit I'm a complete beginner on this topic. I don't have to compost in San Francisco. The city does it for us. We're provided huge bins for our kitchen waste. You go to a cafe and you can compost there too. It's the law!

Most of it gets shipped off to the wine country for use and several times a year they offer it back to us for free. Seriously, they do all the hard work for us.

The Great San Francisco Compost Giveaway. Image via Apartment Therapy.
Okay, I know five gallons is tiny but remember we have very small yards in San Francisco! We obviously needed a lot more than that for this garden and thankfully, this house came with two beautiful piles of gold, one ready to go and then, this one.

When I first saw this pile, I shuddered. I wanted a compost pile, but this? This was ugly! Rotting apples were rolling out all over the place and all sorts of plants were growing out of it, including a huge winter squash. And what's that growing there? Why, it's Amaranth. Lots and lots of Amaranth. Now I get it. I needed to let go of my control freak habits and just let the earth do what it's got to do. I can't imagine having a neat little compost bin now. I'm learning to loosen up, and my husband has agreed to turn the pile for me, if begged.

1 comment:

  1. I admire people who grow their own food and run CSAs. Sadly I´m not a gardener myself. It´s been a frustrating experience here in upstate NY. Every tulip I´ve ever planted has been eaten by deer. Surely they would also love my vegetables. Therefore our food comes from a fantastic CSA and is supplemented by some stores we like.
    I´ve seen Alice Waters book around, but never looked at it closely. Now I will. Very curious to see your garden (and food) grow! What an interesting experience.