Sunday, January 5, 2014

Finished Processing the Organic Compost!

I finished hand turning the rest of the back yard tomato growing area!

It took two or three days to hand turn the approximately 10 x 13 area. Because I left this dirt in place I only went down a few inches -- say 4 to 6 inches -- versus the other digging where I made a large dirt pile to the side -- going down 6 to 12 inches or more. There were sprinkler pipes criss-crossing the remaing area so I didn't feel comfortable using the Mantis. I applied a liberal amount of compost over this area on Wednesday night and turned the dirt a second time on Thursday.

Overall I pulled out about two gallons of rock and asphalt and about one gallon of roots...not much at all in the grand scheme of things. As noted previously, I didn't dig as deep as other areas. However, I did find three full bricks about one inch under the ground laid end to end. What's surprising about this is that I didn't find these bricks earlier through the years while planting seedlings.

This still left a significant amount of compost. I put a small cart full of compost into one of the raised beds and another cartful onto the "South Garden". I put out another dozen or so cartfuls of compost all over the back yard growing area. After some point I was able to move the compost pile off of the south side over toward the center of the growing area by pulling the bottom tarp. We have been covering the compost with tarp, but this last time the pile got small enough that we laid down one of the tarps on the ground, placed the compost on top, covered the compost with the rest of the tarps and anchored it with bricks and cinder blocks.

I evened out the compost piles using the bow rake, then watered it down. For all practical purposes, I am done with this project!!

There still are other offshoots planned. My wife wants me to turn the "South Garden" so sooner or later I'll get around to that. I need to move a hay bale and the wood pile sitting on top of it (This pile got moved around just like the compost pile) back to east of the lemon tree.

The other item I have relevant to tomato growing is to process our own passive compost pile. We have a huge pile of decaying organic matter in a roughly seven foot in diameter chicken wire fence. My goal is to pull all of it out and make three piles. The piles are (1) Matter that still needs to decompose (2) Matter that shouldn't be in there (think pine needles from our ponderosa pine) and at the bottom (3) Good self-made compost!

While I'd like this good compost to be on the tomato growing area, I really don't care. I'm more interested in getting it distributed anywhere on our property. Only our ponderosa pine is benefiting from this compost and it doesn't need the help.