We took some time today to harvest some compost for a couple of purposes. One is to augment a, hoped for, vegetable bed that needs some improvement. The other project is to create some homemade potting soil for starting some seeds for said vegetable plot.

I’ll have more to say about the potting soil in a future post. For now, here are a few pictures of our compost bins as they appeared when I opened them today. I like my Garden Gourmet composters, because there is no turning, no emptying, not much of anything really. For a lazy gardener like me, this is perfect. You put material in the top and eventually get you compost out of the bottom.

Here is my best producing bin, #1.

Compost Bin 1

You can see the line across the bottom of the bin showing the area where compost meets material yet to be composted. I reach in here with a shovel and start removing the finished compost.  Eventually, once I have removed the majority of it, the remaining material will slip down and continue the process.

This is compost bin #2

Compost Bin 2

This might not look like much, but there was actually a good layer of compost just under those leaves and pieces of straw.This bin has always been more problematical. It seems to be drier and less productive, no matter what we might do to it. Fortunately, it looks like things are finally working. Although the compost is less refined, it is compost and quite useful in the garden. It is good to see things finally cooking in this bin as well.

Here is some of the compost as I sifted it out. I could sift it through even finer mesh, but I don’t mind a bit extra material. I am doing this for usefulness not show. You can also see here a collection of sow bugs, grubs and other insects. I saw a couple of large spiders, but they skittered off before I could take a picture.

Compost sample before sifting

Anything that wasn’t quite composted completely was set aside and will either be thrown away or put back into the composter for another trip, too.

Finally, here is a handful of the finished compost that we spread on the vegetable bed. i wish I could take credit for it, but it is really just a matter of natural processes, insects, microbes and time.

Sifted Compost

I hope your composting adventures go as well, if not better than mine. It really isn’t that difficult.