Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Compost Success Story

This is a post reprint for May 6-12 International Compost Awareness Week. This important educational program is sponsored by the US Composting Council, with the theme of Compost! …Replenish the Earth for Generations, and supported by the Compost Council of Canada, with the theme of Give Back to the Earth … COMPOST!

Last fall I placed the clippings from my garden in a hole I dug in my hillside potato patch. For the first time, I used a compost accelerator called Rot-It to help the tougher stems (like strawberries) decompose by spring. After the first layer of trimmings, I sprinkled on some Rot-It and then gave it a good watering.

Then came another layer with the same treatment, and then a third layer with more Rot-It and water. The moisture helps accelerate the composting process. I covered the mound with the dirt from the hole and gave it all a final watering.

Once everything was nice and moist, I covered the mound with two large plastic trash bags opened flat to help hold the moisture in, and generate some heat to break things down. To keep the bags in place, I placed boards on top. And there it sat until last week.

When I uncovered the mound and dug through the pile, it was completely decomposed. Beautiful dark, rich soil just perfect for my potato patch. Wayne volunteered to help me dig in a bag of steer manure. Now I'll let it rest until next month before I plant my potatoes. I have a few Yukon Golds left over from my pots, and some sprouted Norland reds from last year's crop.

The best news is, this is exactly where I want the compost to be. And thanks to the Rot-It, I've got a nice big batch. I have to climb four flights of stairs to get to my upper potato garden. Making my own soil here is a whole lot easier than carrying bags up from lake level. Well, a whole lot easier on Wayne if I’m truly honest. -- Margy


  1. I made a note of this Rot-it. It is taking so long our compost in those black containers that the town gives us. It would certainly be hard on the back to carry those bags. Nice shots!

  2. Stephanie - I got my Rot-it at a local nursery. You could try Canadian Tire as well. - Margy