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Soil and Composting: Adding MOre Compost in the Garden

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Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 6, 2012
10:48 PM

Post #9113440

Hello all,

A year ago I had new flower beds made for the back year. I had to pull all the plants out to have it made. I thought since I had to pull everything I you loosen and enrich the clay soil I have by adding sand and compost. After may days of shelving, moving, turning and Vicodin they plants were really to go in the flower beds again.

My question is how often should I add in more compost? Will it work just as well if I spread it on the top instead of working it into the soil?

Thanks Bunches

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bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

May 7, 2012
2:36 AM

Post #9113533

If your soil is loose and looks fertile then I would just put it on top or around the plants.

After my plants are established I normally add around my plants that is why I do not have weeds in my garden. We always have tons of compost because composting is is a way of life for us.It is on going all year round.

Belle

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2012
7:01 AM

Post #9113796

You can add compost around plants any day of the year.

I work ours into the soil during Spring and Fall because that's the most convenient for us.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 7, 2012
10:49 AM

Post #9114092

Thank you HoneybeeNC and bellieg for your replies! I add my worm compost regularly. The bin just gets full and heavy so a scoop or two goes into the flower bed or a potted plant!~ I am very life conscious. I know it might sound odd to some but I just can not make compost tea knowing I am killing baby worms. So I wet the target area first then sprinkle the worm compost on top so the worms can find their way into the soil.

But the compost I buy in the bags seem to have a lot of wood like substance. Do you find one kind more beneficial then another?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2012
1:29 PM

Post #9114288

Rhapsody - [quote]But the compost I buy in the bags seem to have a lot of wood like substance[/quote] Wood chips are good for your garden. They help aerate the soil and break down into usable soil. Just don't add too many at one time because they use nitrogren as they break down. Small wood chips make a great mulch.

I haven't needed to purchase compost for several years because we make our own, so I don't know which brands are best.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 8, 2012
9:16 PM

Post #9116655

HoneybeeNC, good to know. I did not know the compost needed that much nitro. Thanks for that!!

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 18, 2012
1:45 PM

Post #9128722

Always seemed to have some trouble with killing my new or baby worm population myself. Earlier I was moving bags of last years compost and there were hundreds maybe thousands of new worms under them.They dried and died when I moved the first couple of compost bags so I left the others set for a while.

It;s difficult even to keep a good healthy worm population anymore without killing them to no purpose.
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

May 18, 2012
1:49 PM

Post #9128726

Something is in your soil for the worms to die.

my garden has tons of earthworms. I give them as treats to my kois.

Belle

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 19, 2012
10:17 AM

Post #9129546

The earth base in my garden is ancient ash and swamp mud , the worms don't like it much better than sand . Only with improvement and compost that they are there really, it's not as much to do with poison or pollution as natural PH.

bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

May 20, 2012
9:22 AM

Post #9130572

It takes time to amend the garden soil so the worm can survive. It will get there just keep composting. We have tons of compost and we use it all.

Belle

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 21, 2012
9:22 AM

Post #9131928

Some neighbors just contracted to have two trees cut down. I asked the guys dsoing the cutting (this morning) if I could have the chips, and they said YES!

So this year I'll have a few cubic yards of "browns" - now I just have to find some greens. If it's true that you compost a mix as lean as 20:1 C:PN, and 2 cubic yards are 54 cubic feert, I only need 3 cubic feet of greens.

Heck, I can bring home 10 bags of "manure-compost mix" for $13 and start hitting Starbucxks for grounds again. Score!

bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

May 21, 2012
6:20 PM

Post #9132639

Good for you and you are lucky!!!

Belle

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 21, 2012
6:42 PM

Post #9132673

I was grumpy aboput losing the nice trees, since their roots weren't bothering ME, and they didn't cast MUCH shade in my direction, but then suddenly it was as if Christmas came early.

I'm guessing there will be plenty of big chips for mulching and supressing weeds (and slowly sheet composting), plus finer stuff for composting right away in a heap.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 25, 2012
11:43 PM

Post #9138941

Right on with the wood chips... but poor trees! I just hate to cut down a perfectly good anything!
Rhaps

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

May 26, 2012
5:52 PM

Post #9139793

Ric, if they do all the branches it may come in more green than you're thinking--all those leaves...
Like hitting the lottery
katiebear
mulege
Mexico

May 29, 2012
11:23 AM

Post #9143463

This is the time of year that seaweed washes in on the beaches and I pay a friend to bring me truckloads of it. I don't wash it as that removes the potassium. In a workshop I did (where I learned abou the potassium) I was told that if your soil has worms, you are doing fine. The soil to which I had added a lot of seaweed had lots of worms. I have moved since then and have been building up the soil at my new (and permanent) home for several years now.

I agree, Rick hit the lottery wth the trees.

I've been known to stop by the roadside to salvage a dead palm tree.

We gardeners are a weird bunch.

kb

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2012
2:38 PM

Post #9143695

Sad to say, my neighbor must have come home between the time I left for work and the tree-choppers left. The guys doing the work were happy to leave me the chips (and all the munched-up grren pine needles!) but she must have told them not to.

No wood chips for Rick. If that was Early Christmas, all I got was coal in my stocking. :-(

She also got the park management to send me a lawyer's letter tgelling to put all the "rubbish" into my little shed. By "rubbish", they mean bags of soil and bark, coir, garden tools and pots.

Her yard now looks like a barren desert, and she's working on my yard.

Are you SURE that 120 or 150 pounds of meat and bones would be bad for a compost heap? I could add some quicklime ...

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 29, 2012
3:19 PM

Post #9143797

Isn't neighborly love and conservation a grand thing. (YEAH RIGHT, huh?)

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2012
3:39 PM

Post #9143823

Before movng in, she TOLD me she wanted to garden, and "eat raw vegetables". I thought she was a GARDENER.

No.

Her first move was to kill a big lovely azealea just as it was coming into bloom.
Thenh she had two big trees taken out, and bushes on the other side of her house.
Then she got me to move my perennials ... I guess I'll find out how they do in pots!

Now it looks like the Gobi desert.
Except for some big ceramic pots that don't seem to have drainage holes - and it rains 8 months of the year here.
And she stuffed so many store-bought plants into the first two pots that they were crowded on Day One.

I sertiously wsonder whether she isn't a plant-sadist. She's certainly a serial killer!
And her husband looks shell-shocked, like a zombie.

And she's not like the best gardener in the neighborhood, whom I call "Atilla the Gradener". Atilla has a LOVELY garden, becuase she a policy of giving every plant two chances. It can thrive in the first place she puts it, or the second place. After that, it's "out with the old and in with the new". I couldn't do that, but she doers get beautiful results, and knows how to CULTIVATE plants, not just pay people to chop them down.

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 29, 2012
5:02 PM

Post #9143928

Bugs, gophers, moles , and various, small animals, are still mine,As they really do most of the gardening anyway,while making me have to replant something everyonce in while.Oh yeah I almost forget to say anyone of them makes a great executioner,But I think I will let you keep yours,and beware of assasains they are everwhere.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2012
7:01 PM

Post #9144116

Hmm, which is worse, a trouble-making human neighbor, or moles?

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

May 29, 2012
7:45 PM

Post #9144172

I think the bad neighbor is more frustrating than a mole!

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 29, 2012
8:26 PM

Post #9144218

The mole would only dash a few of your plant hopes(painful to a days hopes)A neighbor can damage your spirit(forever disheartning).The neighbor by far and away.
katiebear
mulege
Mexico

May 30, 2012
6:33 AM

Post #9144547

The neighbor. No one will mind if you killl the mmole but some will feel obliged to interfere if you kill the neighbor. kb

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 30, 2012
7:18 AM

Post #9144601

Rick, wish I could tell you how to handle such a miserable neighbor. The only thing I can suggest is that you put up a wooden fench, or plant something (edible?) that will grow tall enough that she can't see into your garden.

Kiwi comes to mind ^_^

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 30, 2012
7:10 PM

Post #9145461

Well, I built the long narrow raised bed along the sidewalk (on her side, which the prior tenant liked) so I could grow 6 Lavatera, that would have been 4-6 feet tall all summer and part of the fall. She made me move them ... currently in much-to-small pots.

I do have one bamboo (Fargesia rufa) between us, and one Rhododenron. But the F. rufa droops, looking like a graceful umbella or tiny willow. It's only three years old, so it MAY eventually get taller and have thicker stems. Right now, around 6-7 feet while the culms are shooting up, but then they droop to 4-5 feet.

I tried to negotiate - including "you can use the bed to grow what you want as long as you leave the Lavatera there", but no. My cynical theory is that she saw how much I wanted to keep the plants alive, and she could get awayh with demanding her rights.

Hopefully I won't think so ill of her if she ever DOES anyting with the yard, besides revel in it being a lifeless plain!

In just one way, I'm glad she made me take back the soil and the pavers that made the walls. I made two beds out of them, (or three if you count the really shallow bed that suddenly got improved with about 4 more inches of gritty and root-clutterted soil dumped on top.

And, in one place she nagged me about, I chopped out the grass and put in a third bed with poorer soil that is only partly amended, but any soil is better than my clay! Now I may take advantage of that one to grow two Lavatera next to my bamboo. Or invest in an F. robusta, which claims to be taller and have thicker stems.

Katie:
>> some will feel obliged to interfere if you kill the neighbor

YES! And it would get me talked about. Maybe even damage my reputation for a sunny disposition. And they say that putting too much meat into a compost heap can attract pests and flies. I should ast least give her a few more months to antagonize everyone in the park. Develop a concensus!

I think Ambrose Bierce said it well:

"There are those who would object that this is akin to condoning acts of violence. It is subject to that criticism."
katiebear
mulege
Mexico

May 31, 2012
5:53 AM

Post #9145860

Rick - Remember bokashi and EM (Effectivemicrorganisms). Both help to compost milk products, fish and MEAT,

Also, you might study what music she finds repellant. Not to play too loud; just loud enough to be annoying. Some testing may be necessary.

While I would hesitate to recommend this for anyone less obnoxcious, there are some good books about handling anoying people. Many can be found under the name George Hayduke (the hero of one of Abbey's books). I have auite a collection of them which I keep kind of hidden as I would not one anyone to suspect me if/when mischief occurs. I love to read them if I'm mad at someone and imangine indulging in some of the pranks.

Could you coomplain about the dust coming from her barren plain?

Could you take up sculpting large penises?

There are some opportunities here.

katie

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 31, 2012
8:29 AM

Post #9146085

Rick - I could put a hex on her for you ^_^

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 31, 2012
10:31 AM

Post #9146230

Katie, you are fiendish! My suspicion is that "she wants a fight", and that she's better at being obnoxious than I am.

I like the 'sculpting' idea: I haven't seen that kind of lawn ornament and perhaps the time has come. From pink flamingos to penises ... hmmm.

I thoguht of waiting unrtil she had guests, going up to them an d gushing about how cool she was, that they ashould ask to see her m eth lab: "it's REALLY well hidden!"

Honeybee, I appreciate the offer, but I'm wrestling with the same kind of idea myself. So far, the farthest I feel OK doing is to visualize a barrier to fend her off. Her husband is such a zombie he might be about to snap, and I WOULD feel bad if I meddled and then read that he had stabbed her 99 times and buried her out back.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

May 31, 2012
11:38 AM

Post #9146308

Yeah, really. After the first dozen stabbings the rest are soooo spiteful...

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 31, 2012
1:09 PM

Post #9146440

"crimes of passion" "adding to the compost" kinda goes together with the backyard 99 thing. (GRUESOME)!!!

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

May 31, 2012
2:33 PM

Post #9146573

RICK I couldnt resist it sounds like your "grimoire" side got to you.All those wood chips to mulch with,then adding nitrogen, "blood meal" maybe.Then thinking about the wood chipper and meat products to compost, and then the neighbor comes to mind,H mmmm.
Even though I don't think we are going to,I hope you don't become one of those "the old guy " "that lives down the street" stories. Remembr those from younger days?.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

May 31, 2012
6:46 PM

Post #9146941

"Fargo"
Just sayin'
katiebear
mulege
Mexico

June 1, 2012
6:34 AM

Post #9147399

One a more cheerful note, you could probably find the wod chip suys (or others) who would be happy to drop ff a load f chips when they are in the neighborhood. If you check www.craigslist,org for your area you might find posting under the free stuff. In your area they might have trouble getting rid of them. kb

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 1, 2012
3:29 PM

Post #9148134

Hunting on craigslist or becoming a telemarketer asking yardwork companies if they would donate chips is on my loist of things to do ... but not right near the top even before my new neighbor brought her PhD in nagging to the neighborhood.


>> "the old guy " "that lives down the street" stories

Not sure ... but I can imagine. Unfortunately, I have several knife holders worth of kitchen knives, so if any police ever walk through my kitchen, their eybrows are likely to pop up.
katiebear
mulege
Mexico

June 1, 2012
4:25 PM

Post #9148219

Could you ask "her" for the name of the tree company so's you can call them for several truckloads of chips? Ask nicely, now. kb

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 1, 2012
4:53 PM

Post #9148249

1. I'm not talking to her unless I CAN'T avoid it! The last time she ambushed me wshile I was worki9ng oputside, I ground my teeth for days. she really has a talent!

2. I don't want to give her satisfaction by acknowledging that she made them NOT leave any chips.

3. If she can find a double-talking excuse to refuse to give the name or number, I would be tempted to strangle her (heck, I'm tempted right now!) And that WOULD give me a reputation as hard to get along with.

I begin to see how the Hatfields and McCoys got into their feud.


Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

June 2, 2012
9:29 PM

Post #9149831

HoneybeeNC,

I like that hex thing! A girl has to do what a girl has to do!

Rhapsody

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HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 3, 2012
5:45 AM

Post #9150002

Rhapsody616 - ^_^
chucki
Anchorage, AK
(Zone 3b)

June 3, 2012
1:59 PM

Post #9150477

Rickcory, If i understand you correctly, you planted on her property. Is this correct?

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2012
11:50 AM

Post #9151808

The previous tenant agreed to have the flower bed put on her property. I asked the new tenant if she could wait until the loavatera flowered, since she might want them if she saw them. No, they all had to be yanked out ASAP and the ugly bare clay has been there since. And dribbles m ud onto the sidewalk when it rains. Big imporvement.

She has since mentioned that she won't even get around to planting anything this year.

They would have shieled my line of sight to that whole front yard of hers - now all bare and ugly, since she also tore out the azealea just as it went into bloom.

Yes it's her yard. Or rather, all the property belongs to park management. We only rent the spaces.

I wonder what positive pleasure it gave her to move (kill) pewrennials about the flower, and snhapdragons in bloom? All I know is that her entire outdoor plan so far has been to kill things, including trees.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

June 4, 2012
4:42 PM

Post #9152339

Maybe the same perverse pleasure as those who hack websites. A power trip.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2012
6:16 PM

Post #9152496

Good point. Both hackers and the more obnoxious variety of Internet trolls - only happy when making as many people as possible UNhappy. "We're not happy until you're unhappy."

A friend used to call them "spoilers".
mqiq77
Danielsville, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 4, 2012
10:56 PM

Post #9152785

Sorry to invade a thread, but I live next to a sultan of mediocraty, that thinks since we live in the country, we can dump food scraps. They let their dogs invade my compost, and intemidate my chickens.A visiting dog killed my roster this past week.I have tried to reason with both her, and her (Virgin) son. He bost of that title, and he is around 44yrs. He once ask me if I had some type pin, that he could use to put a pet racoon in.I was surprised at that, and ask if he had found a baby, and he told me there is one hanging around the foof scraps, and it would almost let him pet it.
I shot it, when it came over on my side, and it had rabies. Yes, we are dealing with idiots.
She had called the drug unit, because I was growing hibicus texas star. It can look like (Weed)
I conclude that where you live, you will find cultural differences. Thanks, Mike

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 5, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9153394

Hi Mike. Welcome to the thread! I think it has been drifting, anyway, for about a week. I think I was guilty of drifting away from compost.

(But I always figure that if anyone has anything thyey still want to say on the original topic of a thread, they can say it and then the thread is back on topic.)

So they keep dogs, yet didn't worry about strange-acting raccoons? Geniuses are all around us. If she HAD patted her "pet" rabid raccoon, and it had bitten her, I wonder if people would have been able to tell she had rabies from changes in her behavior? Maybe it would have made her a nicer person!

Drifting back on topic , I do worry about putting any meat into my compost heap, but have never yet seen it disturbed by animals. We only seem to have cats and squirrels, no dogs except on leashes. At most I add tiny amounts, chopped fine, and buried deeply, when something goes bad.

(I'm in a pretty urban setting on a major road between 2-3 highways: we have more used car lots than nature near us.)

>> She had called the drug unit, because I was growing hibicus texas star. It can look like (Weed)

Is there any Nobel prize for "Stupid"? Or just "likes to make trouble"? I wonder if the leaves are toxic?
mqiq77
Danielsville, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 6, 2012
7:33 PM

Post #9155219

You haven given me much to ponder, Rick Corey, I'll have to get back with you on that one.
BTW if I made it sound like I put meat sraps, in compost, I don't, but have lots of egg, that the varmets look for.
I have done many thinge to hide the shells, etc, to include micro wayve the shells, but still varments dig.Some time I think they may be after my worms. Mike

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 6, 2012
11:02 PM

Post #9155346

I didn't think about eggs, but then I hardly ever buy any. (Decades ago, fried egg sandwiches and cheese omelets were almost the only things I knew how to cook. I guess I got tired of people telling me they would give me heart attacks.

>> Some time I think they may be after my worms.

I recently spread my small "finished" compost heap over the beds. There were very few worms, maybe I let it simmer too long. Then I saw a bird pecking where I had just spread compost, grab a worm and fly away - I almost wanted to snarl at it to leave my worms alone! But who can snarl at birds?

mqiq77
Danielsville, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 7, 2012
6:35 AM

Post #9155529

Over the years I have been composting, I find that when you work with nature, birds,worms, etc., you have a better acting compost pile. My greatest enimy in compost is areas of dry compost.I find that here is where turning is necessary.I have tried many solutions to making compost, and the best is let the worms do the work.I have also found that you can dry out your worm workers.Today I keep a periotic check on material that is being missed, and will do some pitch fork work. When I gather my kitchen scraps, I always try to dig it in where it is needed most.
Over the years I have found that it is real easy to leave your compost in the pile too long, and it becomes dead, for lack of better discription. I always like to work my compost in while it is "working", and the area that recieves it becomes working with it.It will be so much easier to turn the next spring. Mike

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 7, 2012
12:26 PM

Post #9155906

>> Over the years I have found that it is real easy to leave your compost in the pile too long, and it becomes dead, for lack of better discription.

I think you're right. The best parts have already been eaten, and some of the value is washed away by rain. That may be4 why I had so few worms: they finished their work months ago, put down their tools, washed their hands, and went off to eat something fresher.

>> My greatest enimy in compost is areas of dry compost.I find that here is where turning is necessary.

I agree with that also. My pile is so small that a lot olf it is near the surface, and the exterior surface is what dries out first for me. My fork work has to turn the pile "inside out". When I finally spread my working heap, the first thing I did was raked the dry, unfinished parts off the surface and moved them to the second pile.

(I do0n;t know what it was, but SOME hollow plant stem resisted breakdown for moinths after the rest was finsihed. I should have just screened those out months ago, and spread the rest while it was younger.

Once I leaned some 8"x16" x 3/4" concrete paving stones around the edge of my pile, to keep the surface more moist. Maybe that helped a little. Too bad that "under a pine tree" is about the only place I had to put that pile. The tree keeps it drier than it would be otherwise.

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