This year I have a 4 yard compost delivery from Veteran Compost. There is just no way I can produce that amount of compost from my compost tumblers. Don’t get me wrong–my tumblers are great. It is wonderful to process all our food scraps into rich, crumbly compost but that is on a small scale.
I decided that my garden could use the compost and maybe I could use it as a mulch also. I am experimenting to see if the compost will help the early blight that my tomatoes keep getting each year.
Four yards is a lot of compost and I was quite excited for the delivery and maybe a little apprehensive that it would be a huge amount and take up a lot of space. I also was worried about moving all the compost from the pile where it would be dumped into my garden. But I decided to take the plunge and deal with it.
Compost Delivery from Veteran Compost Worked Out Great
It all worked out really great. I ordered it from Veteran’s Compost in Aberdeen, Maryland. Justen delivered the compost in huge trash cans–12 of them. The trash cans had wheels on them so Justen could roll them to wherever I wanted. So the compost was dumped in piles all up and down my garden! I didn’t have to worry about moving it at all from one huge pile. If a dump truck had deliverd the compost it would have been dumped in a huge pile. Then I would have had to transport it in my wheel barrow to my garden. This worked out in the best way possible!! Thanks to Justen at Veteran’s Compost.
When to Plant Your Garden is an Important Decision
When to plant your garden can be a tricky decision this year. We have unseasonably warm weather. Some days, though, it is very cold like it should be in March and it even freezes. The 60 degree days can easily fool us into thinking that it is May instead of March. Our daffodils are all fully bloomed. Usually this doesn’t happen for another 2-3 weeks. And daffodils are usually blooming when it is cold outside! They are often seen poking up as the snow is melting.
It is easy to get all excited and think that this is it. Spring has arrived! Be careful though! A prime example is in the Midwest on Saturday it was below freezing. Then on Sunday it was close to 70 degrees! This is also happening on the east coast.
Be sure to check out the frost dates so that you can plant your delicate seedlings when it is safe outside. It is appropriate to plant cool weather crops such as peas, lettuce and beets now. So check out those frost dates and hold yourself back even though the weather is warm. I usually plant close to one of the frost dates and then I watch the weather very carefully. If it is going to freeze I cover my plants in some way and then remove the cover the next day if it is going to be warm. If you are just too impatient plant cool weather crops or try starting seeds indoors in the house. Happy Planting!
There is some interesting information about tomato blight and compost which you can read about in the next paragraph. All my tomatoes were dying last summer from tomato blight which is better known as early blight. I did actually harvest some great tomatoes but the plants would have still produced until the first frost if not attacked by tomato blight–a great disappointment.
I read in a book called Compost This Book (on page 82) that “There has been for a long time anecdotal evidence for the ability of composts to protect plants from fungal diseases.” Another researcher wrote in his article Disease Suppressive Media : “In another Florida experiment, composted sewage sludge was applied to a tomato field. The researcher noticed that early blight disease was significantly less with compost than without.”
So I thought maybe I have some hope with compost. I started putting compost around my tomato plants as if it were mulch. One idea to combat early blight is to heavily mulch your tomato plants so that when you water them there won’t be a chance of any of the fungus splashing up onto the leaves from the ground because all the dirt is covered with mulch. Well now this was a new idea that the compost would actually combat the fungus!!
All composts are different in quality and whether they are mature or not. I did read of a garden where compost was used and the plants didn’t do so well, but the next year they were fantastic. The conclusion was that the first year the compost hadn’t fully matured so it was taking nitrogen from the soil. The second year the compost was mature and supplying great nutrients to the plants. So we are dealing with very individualized experiments here.
I wasn’t having any results with my Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes or my Dad’s Cherry tomatoes. But then I started to notice that my Sun-gold tomatoes were sending out new growth and new flowers. I wondered if the compost mulch was attacking the fungus and the Sun-golds were rejuvenating!! It could have also been because it wasn’t so humid anymore.
This year I am going to put lots of compost in the holes that I dig for my tomatoes and I am also going to use it as mulch. You can see from these pictures that there is the diseased, brown, dead parts of the plants coupled with the new growth and new healthy looking tomatoes! Along with the disease resistant seeds that I bought I hope I have more success this year with my tomatoes lasting until the last frost!