The patty pan squash I tried earlier in the summer produced lush bushes that took over the bed, but because they didn't get enough sun, the flower stalks grew leggy and tall. As the little squashes started to develop, the long leggy stalks couldn't support them and the baby squashes just broke off. I ripped the plants out a couple of weeks ago and planted a flat of impatiens that I still had sitting in a shady spot. I'm hoping these flowers will catch up to the ones on the other side of the bed that are lush and colorful.
The plan for next year. More shade loving flowers. Lots of color. A mix of perennials and annuals. Though they are often overused as landscape plants, I really do love the ease, vivid colors, and spreading growth habit of the impatiens and the bold colors and heart shaped leaves of the caladiums. (a few more lovely photos of caladiums here).
Enough about the flowers...this post is supposed to be about pit composting! So here's the scoop. Literally. You dig a hole and dump in your veggie waste. That's the method in its simplest form. Here's what I did.
The section of garden underneath my clothesline, just below the screen porch has been neglected the last couple of years. A few day lilies and a bronze fennel were limping along. I decided to transfer the day lilies to another bed and clear everything else out of the bed. Then I dug a pit about two feet square and a foot and a half deep. Into this pit, I put the veggie waste I've been saving up. I added a layer of leaves (I have an abundance of leaves all the time!), another layer of veggies, a layer of leaves and then covered it with the soil I had dug out.
Mounds of soil at the bottom right of the photo are the filled pits topped with soil. Just in front of the garden tools you can see the pit in progress.
I'm going to have the boys help me by digging similar pits along the length of this bed and I'm going to try my hand at a modified version of bokashi composting which I read about in my latest issue of Fine Gardening magazine.
If you google bokashi composting, you'll get lots of articles. This is the one I found to be most helpful.
I'm not going to put money in purchasing EM bokashi starter or the time in making my own right now, however. Instead, I'll just collect my veggies scraps as usual in my stainless steel counter top compost bucket and then dump them in my pre-dug pits as I collect them. I'll mix them with leaves and soil as I go and cover the pit completely with soil when it's full. It's an easy, sort of lazy way to go, but I expect a the pit composted garden bed to be quite fertile by next spring.
If you want to read more, here are a couple of articles about pit or trench composting.
For compost for my other garden beds, I'll still be using my above ground compost bin, but I'm moving it near the pit compost bed and will be using more leaves and some shovels of dirt to try and speed things up. One day, I'd also like to try this arrangement.
I must say, its a pleasant walk along the newly mulched path to the compost area. I don't think anyone will mind taking out the compost any more!