I may soon be one of the people in charge of a Community Garden in our town. I would like to take advantage of local resources to build all the garden areas from available organic material. This would be wood chips, grass clippings, cafeteria leftovers, farm manure/straw, etc. It is now the end of January in Zone 6 and I am not sure how soon the rest of the group is expecting a workable garden, but I have a few questions that need attention independent of the time frame. To save time and space, I thought about having the compost areas and the garden areas be the same areas. My question is how to go about using the above mentioned materials and converting the compost area to a garden area even though the compost is not fully decomposed? I assume I would not be growing directly into the aging compost? Would it be better to till the ground underneath the area first? If tilling beforehand, should some of the organic material be laid down first and tilled in? Thank you very much.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
While you don't necessarily have to till it, this would certainly help, especially if you are planning on adding the composting materials over top. Additionally, I would recommend adding the compost first and tilling it into the soil. Keep in mind that it should sit a bit prior to planting while the compost breaks down some.