Saturday, February 04, 2023

GardenDC Podcast Episode 136: Home Composting

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with Gary Pilarchik of The Rusted Garden about home composting. The plant profile is on Stinking Hellebore and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events in the What's New segment. We close out with Greg Peterson of The Urban Farm podcast, who shares the Last Word on Observation.

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Show Notes: 01:06 Meet Gary Pilarchik of The Rustic Garden. 03:22 Home composting in small spaces. 04:40 “(Bagged) compost can be in any state of decay and they’ll call it compost.” 05:34 How to compost in a 4x4 space. 06:26 “People just don’t get started, they get paralyzed…” 07:06 You don’t have to be an active composter. 07:49 Compost happens. 08:10 Gary’s biggest tip: just get started. 09:17 Setting up a hot compost. 10:43 Pros and cons to hot composting. 11:30 If you’re lucky, cold composting takes 12 months to become usable. 12:14 “I was a little bit slow getting started on composting, and that was the barrier.” 12:34 Why tumblers are great: “At dinner time I don’t feel like walking out when it’s raining.” 13:35 How to control compost odors. 15:58 Composting is like lasagna. 17:13 How to separate hot composting into multiple piles. 18:41 You shouldn’t get overly stressed about making it right. 19:35 Turning piles adds in oxygen – fuels the decomposition process. 21:22 How Gary sets up his leaf compost. 22:08 You don’t always have to turn leaf compost – here’s how. 22:47 Leaf composting: “It’s not a lot of work, which is what I prefer.” 23:30 Chemicals on grass may not break down and can hurt your garden. 24:08 Don’t be lazy and add whole sticks. 25:29 Here’s what attracts racoons and rats to your compost. 26:23 Do creatures get into your compost? 27:10 Snakes – don’t freak out. 29:09 Weed seeds can last for years. 30:27 Things can grow out of a compost pile??? 32:28 Plants want to survive. 33:10 Experimenting with closed-bag composting. 35:49 Composting for the first time? Try three pens. 37:18 Compost activators: they don’t work. 38:10 Beer and urine in your compost! 40:07 Leaves don’t need to be sifted. 41:40 “I want to do the least amount of work.” 42:20 Compost tea – an extra step. 43:46 Organic gardening, the compost is your fertilizer. 45:07 Just get started. 45:36 Stinking Hellebore: this week’s Plant Profile. 47:07 Garden updates: Blooming crocuses! 47:22 Upcoming events: Tacoma Horticultural Club: Growing Figs; National Capital Orchid Society’s annual show and sale; Stars for Your Garden – Potomac Rose Society. 48:43 “Groundcover Revolution” by Kathy Jentz. 49:52 “The Urban Garden” by Kathy Jentz and Teri Speight 50:52 Last Word by Greg Peterson: Observation. 53:24 “Always keep a curious mind.”

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

GardenDC Podcast Episode 123: Cover Crops and Winter Bed Prep

This episode is archived at:

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Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Editing and Show Notes: Jessica Harden


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