In February and March, I posted two garden experiments . The titles of these were Compost Hits and Misses and Spinach Experiment. Follow the links to get a quick refresher. Basically to sum it up the compost experiment was to see if an anaerobic compost pile is easier to keep than an aerobic compost pile. The spinach experiment was testing the germination rate of mulched seeds.
One was a success, one was… in Myth Buster lingo, we will call it plausible. We will start with the success. The anaerobic compost pile. I was pretty happy with the end product of the pile. I put in almost all the contents of my “after winter” compost pile. Which is basically kitchen scraps, pumpkins, landscape material from last fall, all not really decomposed because it sat all winter. So I took all that plus some manure and made a pile where my herb garden is going to be. Then I threw a black tarp on top and secured it with rocks. Every week I would dumped a 5 gallon bucket of water or two on it and once gave it a good stir around with my pitch fork.
- The pile decomposed fairly quickly.
- Almost no management except adding the water.
- Lots of worms when the pile was used.
- The pile did not really stink.
- The black tarp was an eye sore in my yard for a few months.
- The farmer ran over it with the tractor when we were getting other garden areas ready for spring.
I would use the anaerobic method again. I would suggest, I guess with all compost methods, put it somewhere out-of-the-way and out of sight. It was nice to put it on my future herb garden spot, because the farmer just tilled all that compost right into the ground and it is now part of my herb garden. Over all, a good experiment.
Now the spinach experiment. I mulched one of my raised beds with hay and made rows to plant spinach seeds. I did not have a great germination rate. Maybe somewhere around 50% or less. Some rows did better than others. I believe they just did not get enough sunlight to really pop up. I do have spinach though, and we enjoy a spinach salad just about every night so it was not a total loss. Also it took longer than normal for the spinach to really get going. Again, because of the lack of sunlight right when they were emerging from the soil. I don’t think I will do this again. I will just plant in rows and hoe in between. Then when spinach is done, I will do consecutive plantings or if not in the mood just mulch the whole bed, to keep weeds down, until fall when I can plant more spinach.
Since I now read a lot of garden blogs, I have noticed that many gardeners will have an experiment going in one form or another. It’s just not enough sometimes to hear someone tell you something works or does not work. You have to see it for yourself. I had books and others warn me about trying an anaerobic compost pile. It would stink, it takes longer, maybe I didn’t do it right, but I sort of liked it. It gave me some quick (3 month) compost. It’s worth it to just try something and make your own conclusions. Those are this farm wife’s thoughts on the subject.
The Farm Wife