12 Days of Gardening Books–Day 7

51HSACEZiiL._SL160_I started composting a couple of years ago with moderate success. This was probably due to the fact that I was a lazy composter. Let’s face it, if you throw garden waste into a pile it will eventually rot. So I would toss all my clippings in a pile and then wait almost a year for the outcome. Your end product is still just as good. It just takes a long time to create. So I finally started to do some more research and find out how to speed things up. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner batches, grow heaps, comforter compost, and other amazing techniques for saving time and money, and producing … most flavorful, nutritous vegetables ever by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin had all the answers I needed.

For years I would pile my garden clippings, yard waste and kitchen waste into circular bin. I was careful to layer the pile alternating green and dry waste. I even turned it weekly for a while. And still, it took forever. One day I was watching an old episode of People, Places and Plants with Roger Swain. As Roger plunged a pitchfork into the compost and turned a fork full, it steamed. Steam! That’s what I was missing. In all the years I had turned my compost, I never once saw steam rising up from it. It was in reading the section on making “hot” compost in The Complete Compost Gardening Guide I realized why. Not enough Nitrogen. You see I had given up a lawn years ago so my compost contained no grass clippings. Grass cuttings contain a good amount of Nitrogen and without it, my compost remained colder than a stone. But how was I going to cheaply add Nitrogen to my compost? The answer was something I never would have expected… rabbit food. Rabbit food contains high amounts of alfalfa which like any grass, contains high amounts of Nitrogen. So off to the local feed store I went.

I purchased a #4 bag of organic rabbit food for $5 and added it by the cup full to the green layer of my compost pile. Within three days, I had steam. Within 5 days, I had ash. I was so excited about it that I took a photo and emailed it to friends.   They already know I’m weird when it comes to that gardening stuff, but only the other gardeners could understand my excitement. So if you want to spice up your composting, check out the wealth of information presented in this book.

Who should you gift this book to? Impatient gardeners and those that like it hot! (Well, their compost at least)

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