Making compost and leaf humus

We make "regular" compost and also leaf humus. We try not to let anything go to waste.


Composter  ©Janet Allen
Three-bin composter

This is the second composter we've had in over thirty years. The first one lasted about twenty years. John made each from the plans in Jim Crockett's The Victory Garden book.

(And even though we're now horrified at the chemicals Crockett recommended to use on food, I'd like to credit him with igniting our interest in gardening. I'd also like to think that if he had lived longer, he would have become an organic gardener with all the new evidence of pesticide dangers.)

This is one place we compost our yard scraps from excess clippings, weedings, and so on, especially those from our edible garden. We compost our yard waste not because we need the compost for our native plants, but because we want to try to keep all the "waste" from our property on our property. The compost doesn't go to waste, though. We can never have too much compost for our edible garden.

Informal compost pile  ©Janet AllenMy informal compost pile, newly restarted after harvesting the old one

Another place we compost yard waste is a free-form pile I've created informally next to our screen porch. For a few years, I've just thrown all sorts of extra plants I've dug up (especially the non-natives such as daylilies and hostas) as well as excess prunings and weedings-out—basically things that were too much to just lay on the ground next to where I removed them, too much to cart around to the back yard, or just too much to add to the composter.

Compost-y soil for our blueberries  ©Janet AllenNice compost-y soil for our transplanted blueberries

When I removed our defunct "bog" I needed to amend the not-quite-soil material in the space. The bog area had been just peat moss and builder's sand if I recall—whatever it was was not really pleasant maybe accounting for the bog's failure—so it needed a lot to make it more soil-like.

This compost was the perfect thing. I was amazed at how much rich compost I had created in those few years, all from stuff that most people put out to the curb in giant yard waste bags.

Worm compost  ©Janet Allen
Worms creating compost

We also do vermicomposting (composting with worms) in our basement. This is even richer, more valuable compost since it contains its own composted manure i.e. the worm poop! We use this compost in Our Edible Garden.

CAUTION: These worms shouldn't go outside! These non-native worms are destroying our woodlands!