Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Compost Pit Completes Full Cycle

In October, I put the contents of my compost barrel and final garden clippings in a hole I dug in my hillside potato patch.  I'm using a compost accelerator called Rot-It to help tougher stems to decompose by spring. After the first layer of trimmings, I sprinkled on some Rot-It and then gave it all 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 dirt from the hole and gave it all a final watering.

Then came an unexpected break in the process.  We had to rush from Powell River back to Bellingham, and I didn't get back up to the cabin as planned.  But while I was away, the rains continued to moisten the soil covering compost pit.

When I got back in December, I continued preparing the clippings to decompose over winter. 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 put boards on top. We can get quite a bit of wind during the winter, especially over the cliff where the potato patch is located. I'll leave everything in place until spring when I work up the soil for planting.

And the compost is exactly where I want it to be come spring. I have to climb four flights of stairs to get to my upper potato garden. Making my own soil up here is a whole lot easier than carrying bags up from lake level. Well, a whole lot easier on Wayne that is.

What I found under the plastic garbage bags was lots of sprouts. They went into my compost barrel. On the surface, the soil looked ready for planting.

The test was to dig up the plot and see for sure. I was amazed. There were only a few roots that hadn't decomposed. I added those to the compost barrel too. After digging in a bag of steer manure, my potato patch is ready for planting in about three weeks.

Now my wire compost barrel is empty and ready to accept kitchen vegetable scraps and garden clippings for next year's pit. -- Margy


  1. There is nothing like garden compost for the soil. I'm sure your potato garden will benefit from your hard work.

  2. Nothing like a good bit of compost for your spuds! The taste of freshly dug potatoes make all the hard work worthwhile xxx

  3. Agree with the first two comments. Going to make a note on Rot-It.

  4. You have a great system there. I thought your garden floated just like your house...that might have been better then having to climb 4 flights to get to parts of it. But it all gives me a great visual of where you live, sounds wonderful! Happy gardening:)

  5. If all people know recycling or even do composting, this planet could be saved. A simple compost container for outside in every house is a great help for our mother earth.

  6. Your hard work paid off Margy, looks like a good patch of soil. Hoping you get lots of potatoes this year.

  7. You work so hard! Well done!

  8. Love the process - and the results. Climbing that many stairs to get to the potato garden tires me out just thinking about it. Do you have wild animals visiting either the compost pile or the garden?

  9. You are such a terrific environmentalist!