Thanks for the replies.
Am going to relegate compost-into-the-garden into the full-on art side of stuff. No nuts and bolts, nothing is easily measurable, nothing really calculable, neither hard, clean, quantitative nor qualitative data to collect because there are far to many variables... Pretty much something which thumbs its nose at analytical pragmatism. Nurtured compost is better than haphazard compost, and even poor compost isn't a complete failure. Shovel it on, till it in and let it do its things.
Creating better compost, that still resides in the science side of stuff, and all the data readily available and research has already been done.
applestar wrote:... including what the deeper-rooted plants have absorbed and brought up from far below surface soil levels.
Have a plan for bocking 14 comfrey on a problem area out back the has no top soil of any type- strait sandy glacial till with next to no clay component. Hoping I will have time to get that done this year, but there are a lot of steps preceding the comfrey. This included making soil for 3' X 25'-30' for tiger lillies which will go in back of the sibreian iris which are already there. Basically I am trying to beat back the weeds on a gravel down slope. Want to put the comfrey behind the tiger lillies.
Am actually aware of much of what you responded. Was fascinated by the charcoal soil the Inca made and like many, baffled why they piled it soooooo deep i some places.
I freely gather all the stick, twig, scrub and branch fuel load off the woods floor, leaving some but spaced far enough so when the place does eventually go up, the pieces I leave behind wont be able to ignite each other. I won't disturb the leaf liter or any decomposing wood though. The sub soil is very close to the surface. There are places here you cannot walk through because of all of the fallen branches and the like. (Basically try to clear a fire break around the house.)
Thanks for the effort it took to type all of that. It connected a bunch of dots for me.
rainbowgardener wrote:And keep in mind, while the concentration of NPK in compost is low, it is used differently. Most synthetic fertilizers, you put a tablespoon or two around a shrub or large plant. If you use much more, you can burn the plant. Compost you apply in shovelsfull. The two shovels of compost you put around that shrub may have as much total NPK as the two tablespoons of fertilizer.
Thanks for pointing that out. Often I become so involved in how all the pieces fit and work togeather that I forget to look at the picture.
I have drunk the compost koolaid and am a believer. I get 3 things out of composting: Free fertilizer; less trash and no piles of yard waste; and time alone because turning a compost pile looks like works and everyone stays away from me if it looks like work is involved.