We add compost to the soil so that the soil can supply nutrients to the plants. Unfortunately we only made about half the compost we needed so we purchased an additional 16 bags (40 lbs each) of mushroom compost. We probably had the equivalent of that amount in our own compost. I wish that we could make all the compost we need, but we aren't there yet. We purchased a chipper so that we could chip up all our shrub and tree pruning. Unfortunately, I no longer trust a lot of mulch and manure on the market because it is highly likely that it contains "persistent herbicides" that can travel through the gut of cows and horses and still kill your plants! I'm attaching a couple of links so that you can read more about this important issue.
Below is a picture of our compost bin that my husband built several years ago. We started composting in earnest because of our concern about persistent herbicides as well as understanding that we should do our part to reduce our waste to landfills.
Our final product.
Before picture - Compost bin side with food scraps.
Bags of purchased "mushroom compost" are laid out. We believe this type of compost is the least likely to contain the persistent herbicides discussed in the article above - however, there is never any guarantee. We purchased it at Lowe's. Not all stores carry it.
Now for the fun part - picking out the plants! We did this today, February 1, 2014.
We also planted Sugar Snap Peas - we eat them fresh and use them in stir fry recipes.
Onions are on the left, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage in the back and on the right in back. Spinach is planted in the front.
The potato box is in the front. I didn't plants the potatoes today, although I did buy some seed potatoes. I am cutting them up into smaller pieces today and letting them dry before planting in a few days.
Watering the plants and seeds in.
Spinach and sugar snap pea seeds.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
Note the tiered herb bed contains asparagus on the top - it has not started growing yet - hopefully it made it through the winter. The thyme, rosemary, and catnip all made it through the winter - although they do look pretty ratty.
That's all for now - happy gardening!