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Self-Fertilizing Garden Update

Lots of Plant Growth Thanks to the Composting Trench

As mentioned in my last post, I took a bit of a hiatus from Compost Guy this fall – partially to give more attention to Red Worm Composting, and partially due to a new time-challenged schedule (I decided to take on the role of ‘Mr. Mom’ for my baby girl most days during the week). I’m not sure what’s gotten into me lately, but I’ve recently had a strong gut feeling telling me that it’s time to get back at it! So here we are…face to face…a couple of silver spoons.
Sorry – you can blame too much TV watching as a child!

Anyway – I thought I would start with a MUCH needed update on my ‘Sandbox Self-Fertilizing Garden‘. Last time I wrote about it was just after setting it up in July. As you can see from the picture above, the garden did ok with the assistance from my vermicomposting trench system (link to article on RWC) – one of two I set up last summer. It was pretty funny watching the trench as my pumpkin patch grew – it was almost as though someone (in this case, the pumpkin patch) was taking a big straw and sucking down the contents of the trench.

I have little doubt that some of the shrinkage was indeed due to a significant removal of water leached from the organic matter largely food waste) as it decomposed, but the worms and other compost critters certainly helped by reducing the wastes down to some beautiful humus (also undoubtedly appreciated by the plants).

Big Ol' Pumpkin Ready to be a Jack O' Lantern

I only had one pumpkin that really took off for me – not too surprising given how late I got the garden started, and my lack of experience growing these things – but it thankfully grew very well. All I wanted really, was a nice big jack O’ lantern for my daughter’s first real Halloween (she was only an infant for Halloween ’07). Mission accomplished!

I’ve always admired uniqueness in people and things, and I like to think that our big ol’ pumpkin was a little different from the typical boring ones you get at the supermarket.

A Pumpkin with some Character

Looking back, ‘Scarface’ might have been a good nickname for him, but we didn’t end getting to the naming stage of our relationship with the pumpkin (in fact, I’ll tell you in a future post about the horrible things I did to him after his presence was no longer appreciated on our front porch).

Baby in a Pumpkin

Our daughter seemed to enjoy hanging out with (or in) Mr. Pumpkin before he went on display, and all in all we were quite pleased with his spooky presence for the trick ‘r’ treaters on the big night.

The potato plants on the other side of the trench seemed to do fairly well also, although the final potato tally wasn’t really anything to brag about. I thought the sandy soil (from the sandbox of course) would work really well for the spuds, but I’m no garden guru, so I’ll give it the ol’ college try again next year and see if I get better results (again, starting a month or more earlier certainly wouldn’t have hurt!).

Overall, I was really pleased with the results of my trench experiments this past summer and can’t wait to use them again (and set up some new ones) next growing season! I’m planning to make some vids about this topic (trench composting), and will certainly have more to say about it here again before too long.

Stay tuned!

Written by Compost Guy on December 19th, 2008 with comments disabled.
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