Vallia
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Location: Farmington, Arkansas

Self composting garden

I was wondering whether this would work or not.I think all i would need to do is as i work just leave the dead leaves in it and any old rotting veggsin the garden and maybe throgh in some grass. If any one else has tried this please let me know how it went. thankyou
:)

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smokensqueal
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Location: St. Louis, MO Metro area

I haven't tried this but this is my first year for a garden. I plan on doing something similar this fall. I have a raise bed sort of. I have sides on it but the dirt inside isn't much higher then the dirt outside of it. I plan on loading it up with leave and maybe some other stuff I get for the winter then when spring comes I'll see what the leaves look like if need be I'll take some of the bigger ones of the top and use them in my compost but if it looks like they started breaking down I'm just going to work them into my soil.

My step dad does something similar after he is done with a plant in the garden he just starts making a pile and in the fall he will pile leave on that and anything else from the yard then I think in the spring he just tills it in. It's easier for him because he has a tractor tiller.

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brewerjamie15
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Location: Milwaukee, WI

The dried leafs idea is a good one. If I may suggest, try using the lawn mower to chop the snot out of them. I leave the bag off the lawn mower and leave the mower setting on "mulch". I run over the leafs one way (like North/South) and then put the bag back on the mower and run a path in a different direction (East/West) I then dump the finely shredded yard waste on top of the beds and leave it until spring. Once the soil is workable, I turn the compost into the soil. I don't like to roto-till because of tiller pan compaction, and the destruction or worm tunnels which help aerate the roots of my plants.
If there is any left over that does not work into the soil well I put it into my tumbler I made. This process seems to work well for me, just make sure that the lawn has not recently been treated chemically so you don't inadvertently add it to your garden beds.

cynthia_h
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There is a concept called "Lasagna Gardening." It's based on layering organic materials on top of the soil in a planned way and then planting into them. The book Lasagna Gardening was published a couple of years ago (I haven't read it, so can't speak from experience about what it says).

Maybe an Internet search on "lasagna gardening" will give you the info you're looking for. Certainly beats digging up the dirt.

We went for the Square Foot Gardening system here this year due to severely SMALL planting area.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

TZ -OH6
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I would suggest NOT leaving your garden vegetable residues in place. Chances are that any dead leaves or rotting fruit, i.e anything that was not in perfect condition when frost killed it, is affected to some extent by fungal or bacterial disease that will be carried over in the soil. Personally, I burn all that stuff and dump the ash-nutrients back on the soil rather than hope that hot composting kills all of the spores. That soft vegetation does not yield a lot of finished compost anyway.

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brewerjamie15
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Location: Milwaukee, WI

Is wood ash or leaf ash ok as a compost additive? How about hardwood ash left from the grill?

Vallia
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Location: Farmington, Arkansas

i think so just as long as it wasn't pressure treated or staind/painted
:)

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LazyGirl
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Location: Livermore

Wood ash is alkaline so most resources suggest to add it in small quantities. If your soil is acidic you could also add it directly to your soil. This website gives some guidelines for both composting wood ash and adding it directly to the garden.

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/story.php?S_No=34&storyType=garde

I imagine hardwood ash from the grill would be ok as it is essentially ash - but if it absorbed grease drippings it may attract rodents or raccoons. Maybe break up the chunks and bury them in the compost pile?

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