Fall Compost Garden & The "Unintentionals"

Ah, fall is now in full swing, greens being swapped for bright yellows, oranges and shades of reddish brown. I am not as good about getting my fall garden prepped as I am about the spring garden. However, we are fortunate that many of the spring/summer crops keep on giving through the fall (and even early winter!)

Here is the kale that I started inside last March or so, and it keeps on giving!

I took my youngest out to harvest the last of the tomatoes. Here she is helping me, and eating some along the way...

We picked the green ones too, as some of our nights are getting a bit cold. What’s cool, is so many of these treats are from our “unintentional” plants. We threw our pumpkins from last year into our compost garden area, and voila, this year we had baby pumpkins. Here is what the pumpkins start like, the curling vines reminding me of the pumpkins of fairy tales.

Then they get bigger, and darker green...

Until they go orange!

We have a turning compost bin, and then additionally some space to turn the semi-completed compost back into the soil. And speaking of soil – holy cow – the worms are HUGE!

I only started composting three years ago (or so). I took on the leadership role of a community mom’s group, and actually learned more than I gave – which is usually how it happens for me. I learned so much about composting and as it follows, gardening as well. Just in case you're unfamiliar, composting is basically taking organic material (not related to pesticides, but items such as plants, fruits, veggies) and putting them back into the earth. With the right balance of carbon and nitrogen (and other critters), the material breaks down back into nutrient-rich soil. I'm not doing the description justice, as there are books, classes and huge communities dedicated to composting. I just wanted to give a very basic idea!

We don’t do it perfectly, actually far from perfect. I barely have time to take out our actual trash, much less take out compost that could have gone in the trash. Yet, I feel it’s something. I get overwhelmed at the thought of all of the trash that fills the landfill. Honestly, it makes me panic. The plastic gets to me the most. All of this compostable, organic material that can really decay and go right back into the earth, even nourishing the soil, is often trapped in a petroleum laden plastic bag.

So, we decided to do our part, however small that may be. I have no right to complain if I don’t do anything myself. Luckily, my husband jumps on board to help whenever I am on a mission (well, for the most part). He brings the physical strength to my projects and annually helps till the (now) compost garden area. He does give me a few strange looks when I freak out if a banana peel goes into the garbage instead of the compost.

The winter brings some challenges, as it’s hard to get outside. Plus, I used to have to wash out the inside compost bin every time I dumped it. However, now I started using these compostable bags made from potato starch from If You Care. Boy, the few dollars every couple of months is so worth the convenience!

Back to some of the unexpected fruits of the yield...

I think this is an avocado plant.​

And (forgive me Master Gardeners) possibly a melon of some sort? It didn't get any further than this, as the leaves turned brown and curled.

Overall, I am glad we started, no matter how small. I have a greater appreciation for the gardeners, farmers and over all Mother Earth in general. It’s amazing how much one small step can open the doors to a million other doors. And an even better bonus, I can pass this experience on to my kids, so hopefully, they can make a difference in the world, too.


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