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This is the way life works on earth. Every living thing is a spark of sunlight energy, a crystal bead in the net of life.

~Steve Van Matre~

Soil is in the Air

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As soon as the ground thaws, gardenersí fingers get itchy. We want to have dirt under our finger nails, dirt on our knees, and, if you are anything like me, dirt in our hair. March may come in like a lion, but the smell of spring is in the air. And in the dirt. Some people love the smell of freshly cut grass, and that is a nice smell, but the smell of newly turned dirt in the spring time is a special kind of heaven.

The smell of rich, ready dirt is the smell of promise. When you are preparing your garden for planting, you are dreaming about how it will look when the flowers are in full bloom, how the vegetables will taste fresh off the plant, and how nice it will be to sit still in the summer twilight and enjoy your space. There are lots of resources for learning about composting and even more opinions on how it should be done.
Here are a few tips for making sure your dirt delivers on the promises it makes this spring:

  • Keep the idea of colors in mind when you compost. The recommendations as to ratio vary, but experts agree that compost should have some green matter in it, like kitchen scraps and grass clippings and some brown matter like leaves, dirt, newspapers.
  • Moisture is good for composting. You donít want your pile or bin to be soaking all the time, but water is essential for the process, so you should be watering it occasionally. Keeping it damp is the best bet.
  • Stirring it up is a good way to help the breaking down process. Keep a pitchfork handy and when you add something, just give the whole pile a flip or two. Most pre-made bins or barrels come with a crank for turning the compost.
  • Remember that compost will happen whether you do anything or not. Organic matter will break down even if you forget to turn the compost pile. Obviously, as gardeners, we want to be able to share that nutrient-rich, wonderful compost with our plants as fast as possible, so watering and turning is a good idea to speed up the process.

As you begin preparing your garden for the growing season, feeling and smelling that promising soil, take a moment to contemplate the miracle of growing, composting, and growing again. It’s simply amazing that your carrot peelings, celery tops, lettuce cores and sprouting potatoes will break down and become next year’s beautiful blooms and tasty vegetables.

Here are a few links with tons of information about composting: http://greenthumbsgalore.com/newsletter/archive/Nov2007.html http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/composting/questions.htm http://www.ecocycle.org/compost/index.cfm http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2006-10-01/Compost-Made-Easy.aspx http://www.howtocompost.org/ http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/landscape/compost/


March in the Garden:

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