This year, for the first time ever in all my years of gardening, I have had more compost available than I could use. It has been WONDERFUL… I have put thick mulches of compost on all the gardens, around all the hostas, and mixed it in with the soil when we have planted anything… and there is still more compost left in the 2-year-old pile. This particular compost started life as a combination of grass clippings and weeds from the garden, vegetable peelings, shredded leaves, goat manure, and the wood shavings we use as the goat’s bedding.
This is a somewhat coarser compost that is from a pile we made last year. It is very usable at this stage, but we will let it age for another year. This pile is made of the same “ingredients” as the first pile… it just has not had as much time to decompose. We don’t compost pine needles, but all of the compost piles are under pine trees, so the needles are always part of the mix.
And finally, this is year-old compost that contained a larger quantity of the shavings from the goat bedding than the other two piles. The wood shavings take longer to decompose, so we’ll let this pile go for another year as well. Just recently my husband wet down and aerated this pile again to give it a boost, and it quickly heated up to 140°F and stayed at this temperature for over a week, even though he did not add any new material. The compost has cooled down since then but it is still very warm deep inside the pile. By next summer the texture of this compost will be as fine as the compost in the first photograph… and I’ll have another year of as much compost as I can use!
And just think of the money we’re saving…