Friday, May 31, 2013

The Joy of Compost - Growing Potatoes and “Wrist-lings”

A cool cloudy morning was the perfect time to tend the compost. I have two compost boxes.  I put plant and vegetable matter on the top of the box, adding some soil on top when needed.  The soil on top prevents any smell.  I work with one box at a time, adding to the box for a year or so and then letting it finish.  By mid-spring of the next year I have a full box filled with garden-ready compost.  It does wonders for feeding the soil.  As I scooped it into the wheel barrow, I could identify mango and avocado pits and an occasional fruit label.   I marvel at the process and I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the food we have eaten and for the miracle of this cycle of life.
After emptying the compost box, I tip it over and reset it back into its spot. I make sure that soil seals the bottom edges all around.  I don’t want to leave any space for mice to creep in.  The  compost boxes also have a sliding door at the bottom to access compost as it is developed.  I don’t turn this compost, only water it once in awhile.
This is two of my  beds where this year I am growing potatoes.  It is early in the season and they are just coming out.  First I mulched them with straw and then compost on top.  This loose straw/compost allows potatoes to grow and keeps the sun off of them as they grow.  One side has Yukon Gold the other has Majestic Purple.
As soon as we get more straw I will add more straw and more compost.  The green stems and leaves will grow up through it, hopefully producing a deeper layer of potatoes.  After the flowers appear I will dig around and rob a potato or two or three, leaving the vine to grow and make more.
Every once in awhile Ted grabs my camera and takes a picture of me.  This one he said was one of me in my “natural habitat”. (garden clothes, coffee cup in hand, checking something online).   So why would I post a picture of me with no makeup in a funny hat?  It has garden merit:  Gardening is a contact sport.  Twigs, branches and thorns can cause cuts and scratches.  Even with long sleeves, there is always the open bit of skin between gloves and wrist.  Before throwing out worn socks I cut off the feet and use the cuffs to   snugly protect my wrist.  The hat was my dad’s gardening hat.  It works wells for cool mornings and I can remember him and his love of gardening.


  1. Gloria, I love the photo of you and the description of gardening as a "contact sport." My gardening get-up at this time of year includes a wide-brimmed hat covered with a net shirt that covers my head and face and has elastic to keep it in place at hips and wrists. (I still manage to get lots of dirt and bug bites on my wrists, though.) Your wristlings are so clever! -Jean

  2. Hi Jean - What a pair we would make in a picture! but, that is the look of a real serious gardener. So far we have not had mosquitoes or bugs that bite. Our country is so dry....But in 2007 I did get West Nile Virus - Not a bad case, but enough to know I was really sick. We have had some rain, so tomorrow I plan to clean out the water holders and keep the mosquitoes from finding a home