In two posts, Make Compost Like Yoghurt and Chicken Wire Compost Container, I described a compost method I am trying. The purpose is to set up a compost pile that matures quickly to be used as a vegetable garden base. The master gardener who recommended the method said to leave it for 3-4 months and then to plant vegetables directly in it. Although not all the hay was converted to compost, the mixture had matured with a rich layer of compost under the top layer of hay. I added a small bag of purchased top soil, mixed it with the remaining hay and compost and planted two tomato plants. I left a layer of hay on the top to act as mulch.
Possible Problems: My concern is that there might still be enough active decomposition that the temperature could become too hot for the tomato plants. Although the plants are thriving, I’ll continue to monitor the temperature. Another concern is that there might be too much nitrogen for the tomato plants due to the rich compost. By adding the topsoil, I added structure to the mix to hold moisture, reduced the direct contact each plant has with the nitrogen in the compost while still providing the needed nutrients. The plants had nearly doubled in height in a week and have many flowers. Hopefully, we’ll have tomatoes soon.