Vegetable Garden Plot

Composting and Vegetable Gardening

In order to keep an organic vegetable garden happy you need to add back what plants take out. There are three ways to do this: Organic fertizlizer like blood meal, bone meal or others; manure like horse; or composting. Sure there are lots of organic fertilizers out there for vegetables, but they cost money. It adds food to your vegetable garden but lowers the value you get out of gardening, not to mention putting a hole in your wallet. Then there are manures like horse that is easy for me to get access to with horse ranches in the area. But there is a problem there known as weeds. Horse don't digest things completely, so you end up with lots of weeds in your vegtable garden.

A few years back I looked into composting as a way to add back nutrients to my vegetable garden. The plan was simple. Get a composter from San Mateo county at a reduced rate and through all my compostable materials in to it. This was great for a while, but we don't generate that much, it took a while to get something that I could put on the garden. I wanted to accelerate the process. Most of the people in our neighborhood don't your nasty chemicals on their lawns. We have one company that does the mowing for several neighbors. I watched each weeks as the grass clippings where placed in the back of a truck and hauled away. I then asked if I could have some each week. It was a win-win. I got lots of greens and he got ride of some stuff that he would have to haul away. I thought my vegetables would get all they could handle.

Well the story doesn't have a happy ending there. Week after week I threw in the grass stirred in like there was no tomorrow and about a 1/2 a week latter it smelled really bad, too much nitogen. I tried many different ways of adding and doing things like skipping every other week. None of those worked. As luck would have it I ran into a fellow vegetable gardener who had sheep and lots of sheep bedding that had to be disposed of.

Problem solved. Each week before the lawns where moved I would throw in a bunch of hay. Then let them fill out the bin the rest of the way with grass. I good mix or two within a few days and I was good to go. It never got as hot as it did before, but I still got lots of nice compost for my vegtable garden and the back yard didn't stink nearly so bad.