Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

Category Archives: Compost

Compost Conundrums: Trouble-shooting Your Compost Pile

Demand for good com­post is bound to be in full swing now that a fresh gar­den­ing sea­son well under­way . Hope­fully you have an ample, ready source. If, how­ever, you are expe­ri­enc­ing chal­lenges with your com­post pile, let’s do some trou­ble shoot­ing. Here are some com­mon prob­lems and pos­si­ble solu­tions to your com­post conun­drums: 1. My […]

Compost No-nos: What Not to Add to Your Pile

The goal of adding com­post to the fruit gar­den is to ulti­mately pro­vide a healthy and whole­some crop for you and your fam­ily to eat and enjoy. Good qual­ity com­post will pro­vide nour­ish­ment to your berry plants, vines, and fruit trees. When grow­ing edi­ble crops it is impor­tant to use prac­tices that will keep that […]

Factors that Affect the Composting Process

Finished compost waiting to be used

Given even remotely accept­able mate­ri­als and con­di­tions, com­post will occur over time. The break­down of organic mat­ter is a nor­mal part of nature’s cycle. To cre­ate com­post in a timely man­ner and of qual­ity that is use­ful in our gar­dens, it helps to under­stand how some fac­tors influ­ence the com­post­ing process. Car­bon and Nitro­gen sup­ply­ing material […]

Recipe for a Compost Pile

Layer appropriate proportions of carbon and nitrogen source material to create quality compost

Fall is an excel­lent and con­ve­nient time to start com­post­ing. Many of the mate­ri­als you will need are avail­able in abun­dant sup­ply — fallen leaves, green gar­den trim­mings, grass clip­pings, and nat­ural mois­ture. For pur­pose of exam­ple, I am going to assume you are stock­ing a 3-sided com­post bin. The same prin­ci­ples apply to the […]

Containing Your Compost

Compost cooking in the bin

The foot­print of your com­post pile will be some­what dic­tated by the method and loca­tion you choose.  For sheet and trench com­post­ing, the size of your future gar­den bed will be the deter­miner; just as the size of your com­post tum­bler will dic­tate the vol­ume it holds. Sheet com­post­ing will be done right on the […]

Compost — Where to Begin

So, how do you start com­post­ing? First you might want to con­sider how much space and time you have for com­post­ing. Here are 4 basic meth­ods with their pros and cons: Once you have decided which method will suit you, con­sider the loca­tion of your com­post­ing site. Most likely, a spot near the gar­den where you […]

Creating Compost

Pop Quiz: What can pro­vide nutri­ents for your berry bushes, enhance soil mois­ture hold­ing capac­ity and, over time, improve the struc­ture of the soil in your fruit gar­den? Bingo —- organic mat­ter! Organic mat­ter is the foun­da­tion and back­bone for a strong healthy fruit gar­den. Yet many forms of organic mat­ter in their native state are not […]