Dirty, Rotten, Filthy – Organic Fertilizer – The Truth Volume 3

Browns – Greens and Just How Much Moisture is Optimal

Hello my wonderful gardening chums, it’s your, “Organic Gardening Devotee.” All of you are of course dedicated organic gardening aficionados, and my dear friends. I’m so thrilled to be here together with you again. So let’s recap. As you know, in Vols. 1 and 2 of this series of articles we have discussed the most crucial fact that you can’t just put anything into your organic gardening fertilizer. No meat, bones, or oils and if it came out of the ground it can go back into your organic compost. We discussed using unprocessed manure and the absolute danger of weed seeds being planted into your organic vegetable garden from that manure. And as you know your correspondent confessed to you that the title of this article series was a canard, a little white lie. You know of course that organic fertilizer, a.k.a. organic gardening compost is neither dirty, rotten nor is it filthy. It is in fact as our spouse Melvin, “Organic Gardening Compost Man” would say, the Life’s Blood of our organic vegetable garden.

So on with the show. We concluded the last article by telling you that in this article we’re going to be discussing that most important element of organic compost, moisture levels. Your reporter knows that you may be thinking, “OK, so what’s the big deal about how wet my organic gardening fertilizer is?” And you see with that kind of an attitude we wonder and shudder to think if your organic vegetable garden is going to blossom and grow to its true glorious potential? Apologies, we don’t mean to be harsh.

As you well know excellent organic gardening compost requires three elements:

1) Air, just as it is vital to our lives every moment so is it vital to the microbes, nematodes and other “beasties”, as Melvin would say. All of the live little creatures in our organic fertilizer require air to do their jobs. Your garden reporter hesitates to mention this and asks you to remove any small children from viewing this particular article, as it is the absolute truth that one of the primary jobs of these creatures is to procreate. Even though we did take some literary license with the title of this series of articles we are after all pursuing, The Truth. Well, we’ve gotten that out of the way, we feel better and now and we will move on to our next requirement.

2) Food, we mentioned this in volumes 1 and 2 and gave you some guidelines about what was not allowed in our organic fertilizer. Broadly speaking our little microbes and beasties need two types of food, commonly referred to as ‘Browns’ and ‘Greens’. Browns as you would guess are dry and dead plant materials and can include dried out grass clippings, desiccated leaves, small wood chips and sawdust. Greens are fresh and not surprisingly enough often green and consist of things such as vegetable scraps, green leaves and in this particular category were going to include coffee grounds and tea bags. I know many of my gardening chums are enthusiastic tea drinkers just as your faithful correspondent is and it should comfort us all to know that we don’t have to throw our tea bags into the trash but rather can put them out into our organic compost. The Greening of our organic vegetable garden, that is so “In” right now.

3) Water, before I give you the guidelines on the moisture levels for the optimal organic gardening compost there’s one more thing that needs to be discussed. First just as air is critical to our lives and the lives of our microbes so it is that we are not able to live without water and neither are the beasties in our organic gardening fertilizer. It is impossible for me to stress how important it is to keep our little microbes healthy, happy and madly procreating in our organic compost. You see, it’s those hard-working little microbes voraciously consuming the food we’ve laid out before them that gives us our high-quality compost. The perfect moisture level for your organic gardening fertilizer is, it should be as moist as a wrung out sponge. Very simple and critical to the success of your compost. That is the optimal level for our microbes, beasties and the most uncommon garden worm.

Well your faithful garden correspondent has run out of space again. I had so much to tell you and you know it breaks my heart that we can’t go on.

(Note gentle reader that if you perchance missed Vol.1 or 2 of this series of articles you must search using the title of this article and substitute the number 1 or two for the number 3. We do so hope that you will avail yourself of this series in the proper order.)

Until next time I wish you, “Happy Gardening.” Your faithful servant and gardening buddy.