Compost today for black gold in the spring

Today I want to share my favorite secret weapon for growing geraniums that look like this:


It starts with a nasty pile that looks like this:


Yep, it’s compost. And I’m telling you about it now so you can start your own pile and have what I call “black gold” come spring.

Composting is stupid-easy. Find a spot in the yard and dig a hole, pile up produce scraps, add dried leaves or newspaper strips when the fancy strikes, add water occasionally, turn regularly with a shovel, and repeat. Once the snow melts next year, you’ll have the richest, darkest soil teaming with chubby earthworms and capable of growing very happy plants.

In the spring I fill my window boxes with several big scoops of compost. See how dark and lovely it is?


I’ve been composting for four years, and it’s one of my favorite things. Sounds dumb, but I love that it’s free and so effective. If you don’t like the look of an open compost pile, you can certainly put it in a barrel. Ours is in the back corner of the yard, and I have never smelled anything nasty, so I’m keeping it simple.


Would you compost? Do you compost? Here are a few more tips:

>> The best recipe for success is green matter plus brown matter. Green matter, such as lawn clippings, kitchen scraps and vegetable and fruit remnants, is nitrogen rich; brown matter like dry leaves, corn stalks, newspaper and shrub trimmings carries lots of carbon. Mix the two, and you get better decomposition. Avoid things like dairy products, meats, cat and dog waste and pulled weeds as they can compromise your compost.

>> One of the challenges of composting is keeping it moist enough. Worms and microorganisms need water to do their work, so try to maintain the same dampness as a wrung-out sponge. That means you’ll need to add water and turn the pile regularly.

>> The amount of time it takes to produce compost depends upon the heap. According to the University of Idaho College of Agriculture, compost is usually ready for use in three to six months if you’ve been diligent about turning it, adding a good combo of ingredients, and supplementing with water as needed. •



3 thoughts

  1. I compost on the side of my suburban house in a neat black plastic bin with a lid amd a little door at the bottom for removing a shovel full of black gold compost. I use it in the bottom of transplant holes during the summer or whatever and empty the bin in the fall on one chosen garden. I even spread the chunky stuff on top so I can start fresh the next year. I also leave fallen leaves in place for the winter except on the lawn. We love a place to put vegetable scraps all summer and especially stinky ones. A little mixing and all the odors are neutralized.


  2. Alright, I think you have convinced me. My flowers have been struggling this summer, so I think I’m going to try composting and see if that makes a big difference. Thanks for your tips! Your geraniums are amazing!


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