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My Book!

I wrote a book about preserving food. The same step-by-step instruction and full-color photos you find in my blog. Buy it at Yes, You Can 

Links to planters at selected vendors:



Sprouts is a terrific source for certified organic seeds intended for home sprouting. Dress up salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, spreads, and other dishes with homegrown sprouts of all kinds. Follow this link to order your sampler or to find home sprouting kits.


Small Kitchen Garden Store





Compost for a Small Kitchen Garden

If you want to start a lively discussion, ask the experienced owner of a small kitchen garden about compost. With as many opinions about compost as there are gardens, the whole topic can be mind-boggling. It might seem as though compost is a magical garden elixir that requires incantations by compost wizards to produce. But it just isn’t so.

Compost is what it is

Compost is decayed organic stuff—usually organic stuff that decays easily. (The dry compost in the photograph started out as grass, autumn leaves, wood ash, and vegetable peels.) Throw the right organic stuff into a pile where it’s exposed to moisture, warmth, and what lives in soil, and it’s going to decay. In fact, moisture and warmth is enough to promote decay, but things that live in soil accelerate composting.

The advantages of composting are few, but considerable:

  • Composting consumes garbage (lowering dumping charges)
  • Composting produces plant food for your small kitchen garden
  • Composting produces humus that can improve the texture of your garden soil

Your composting efforts can be as simple or as involved as you want—pretty much in line with your gardening efforts. If you’re a passionate owner of a home kitchen garden… or you really want to become a compost wizard, then find a cooperative extension office in your area and learn what they teach about compost. Our local extension service occasionally runs seminars at which they give away compost barrels, and yours might too.

Different Methods for Different Spaces

Depending on the space you can afford for compost, and the amount of organic waste material you produce, you’ll have specific challenges with specific solutions. For example, if you barely have space for a small kitchen garden, it may seem you have no space at all for compost. But you can compost on a very small scale by becoming a worm farmer, which we’ll explore in-depth in a later post.

You can also find composting machines designed to work in your kitchen. These can be fully-automated with computerized environment controls and filtering to promote appropriate decay with minimal odor. If price is no object, a composting appliance might the perfect addition to your small kitchen garden.

On a slightly larger scale, compost barrels are handy in limited spaces, with an added advantage that they can significantly speed up composting. After that you’re into compost bins and heaps, and these can be relatively small or as large as you’re willing to let them become.

Your Compost Philosophy

Are you going to compost everything you possibly can? Can you wait for compost, or do you want it yesterday? Do you enjoy chemical testing, stirring, turning, and putting dirt through a sieve? Oh, you can do it all… but you don’t have to.

Being lazy, I encourage you not to put a lot of energy into compost, but my approach isn’t for everyone. In my next post, I’ll describe my composting activity, and point out its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some articles that provide further perspectives and tips on composting:

  • PLANT FOOD RECIPE: Making Compost – SUPPLIES One 4 foot x 4 foot x four foot container Pitchfork Watering can or hose. INGREDIENTS. 2-3 wheelbarrow loads of green stuff such as grass clippings, weeds, kitchen plant material 2-3 wheelbarrow loads of brown stuff, …

  • Mistakes Making Compost – wet-heap-july. Another wet and rainy day and all I can think about is the compost heap (well may be not all). We all slip up, drop clangers and get it wrong so I thought I would list some of my own errors or lash-ups. …

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