Last weekend was definitely a rainy weekend, but at this time of year we just don’t have the luxury of waiting out the weather.  If we’re going to get our gardens planted on time, we need to get our seedlings going–pretty much right now.  So, after our fiddleheading adventure, we went to work on our compost pile, which we needed some of to make our potting soil.   As composters, Ben and I pretty much wing it.  We put most of our food scraps onto our pile, along with whatever vegetable matter from the yard and garden is lying around.  We don’t pay attention to the order of stuff or to layers, and we turn it very rarely.  Our approach is not intentional, but rather one of just not quite finding the time to do anything more.  I have no doubt that some of the more orderly approaches to composting yield good compost more quickly, and perhaps some day we’ll try something a little more systematic, but for the moment we’re  just happy that we manage to get our food scraps and yard and garden refuse into the bin!   Then we let it be, and count on the rest happening as it will.  Thankfully, so far, we have not been disappointed.  When we dug into the pile this spring we uncovered lots of beautiful, dark compost teeming with worms–YAY!  We used a sheet of wire mesh to screen out any large, uncomposted chunks, and tossed the worms into the garden. (That was Connor and Ian’s job; they loved that part!)  Then we mixed up a big batch of potting soil, using our new compost.  Eliot Coleman has a great recipe for homemade potting soil, which is the recipe we used for ours.  Basically, you just mix it all up (a wheel barrow works well for this), sift out any clumps, and it’s ready to use.   It’s easy, so much less expensive than store-bought, and the resulting potting soil is wonderful and rich.

Potting Soil Recipe II
(From Four Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman)
3 buckets peat moss
2 cups organic fertilizer blend
1 bucket perlite
3 buckets compost

Mix all together thoroughly.

Moving the stuff that still needs to decompose to a new spot

removing more non-decomposed matter from the top of the pile

The good stuff underneath--look at all those worms!

breaking up the composted matter

Sifting the compost

Mixing up all the ingredients!