Our pumpkin/zucchini growing on top of the compost bin.

Our pumpkin zucchini growing on top of the compost bin.

I like to do little experiments in my garden – and I’m happy to learn from those that turn out to be success stories (yay!) and those that turn out to be mistakes (not so ‘yay’ but ‘okay’).

This year I’ve played with a few ideas – including making better use of my compost bins. I’ve collected a few over the years – the big black plastic type – and they fill a few square metres of my garden space. They’re not pretty, though they do a fairly good job of creating homemade compost for addition into the garden. So I thought I’d have a go at growing something on the top of one over summer – to see if it would allow me to make it multipurpose, a bit more aesthetically pleasing, and doubly as productive. I put a bag of potting mix on top of the composting base, and approx. 5cm layer of mushroom compost on top, before planting my seedling.

The first interesting thing about this experiment was that I planted a butternut pumpkin seedling (spare from a bunch I’d purchased from a local hardware store) – imagining it cascading down the side of the bin, whilst drawing on the nutrient rich contents of the bin. Well, that pumpkin has turned into a black zucchini!… so I’m thinking the label must’ve been wrong – that or compost bins magically turn pumpkins into zucchini’s…. but I’m leaning towards to first possibility.

Of most interest to me is how well the zucchini is doing – it’s really big! I have  had to keep an eye on water levels as it has got a bit droopy during the summer. I’m thinking that having the plant there to remind me to water may have been beneficial for the compost as I’ve often forgotten to keep bins damp in the past, which may slow down the composting over dry months.

We’ll be eating that big zucchini tonight (roast vegetable flan with fetta – yum!), and in the next week of so the rest of the plant will be chopped up and placed in another compost bin. I’ll save some seeds, and next year hopefully grow another zucchini on that compost bin. It’s a full circle gardening moment.

WordPress SEO
Skip to toolbar