Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Hot Pile

The late departure of winter means I have to find ways to move things along.  I think the soil temperatures are about three weeks behind what they should be in an average Spring, and I've delayed indoor seed starting schedules a week or more.  The big issue right now is a bin full of unfinished compost.  I really want finished compost for the beds that will grow warm weather crops. The pile has about three weeks to get there.

The good news is - the compost pile is getting hot, which means it's decomposing.  The winter fish kill provided a good supply of dead fish to jump start the compost pile.  I filled a 5 gallon bucket with dead catfish and bluegill and mixed them in with the shredded leaves as the pile was turned over.  Now it's getting hot.  A really hot pile will go over 140 F, but this one is not there yet.  It's at 110 F.   The outside temperature when I checked this was 45 F. 

Amazingly I can't find any of the fish when I turn the pile.  It's like they just vanish.  I'm hoping to get some partly finished compost for the potato bed, which I'll plant in about ten days.  I think by the end of the month the compost should be ready for the remaining beds.  I'd like to see the compost get really hot, hot enough to kill any weed seeds and insect eggs.

The other project for now is to get the new bed ready for asparagus.  I think the soil is still a bit too cold, but I had to get this started.  I dug out about 6 inches of soil and loaded it onto a wheel barrow, then dumped it on a nearby bed for temporary storage.  This bed will get squash and sweet potatoes, so I have plenty of time to move the pile of soil back to the asparagus bed.

With the top layer of soil removed I turned over the deeper soil with a shovel to loosen it.  With the deeper soil exposed it should warm quickly in this sunny weather.  I'll have to purchase some bags of compost to mix in to increase the organic matter in the soil.  Right now it has too much clay and tends to clump.  I'll add some bone meal, make a final trenching and the bed should be ready for asparagus crowns in a few days.

1 comment:

Mark Willis said...

I have 10 Asparagus plants and it's not enough to feed two consistently. Frustratingly it produces a couple of spears each day, so I have to save them up to make a worthwhile quantity. Either that or use the spears as part of some other dish. I want 12 spears each time!

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