Organic composting is simple, affordable and necessary for any organic garden.
Why compost? Quite literally, organic composting can turn your dead soil into healthy nutrient rich soil right away. You can actually see the difference as soon as you apply organic compost and turn it into your soil. (See video on page 2 for illustration.)
Organic composting will also help maintain a neutral pH in your soil, improve soil tilth, and help the soil to hold more nutrients and up to quadruple the amount of stored water.
Organic composting also supports worm and microbial life which further nourishes the soil. Your plants love it.
What can you compost? Almost anything organic. Food Scraps (except for meat and dairy, which will attract rodents and flies), vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells, tea leaves and coffee grounds. The coffee and tea act as natural herbicides.
You will want to produce as much organic compost as you possibly can throughout the growing season. Add as needed to your garden. A simple soil test will tell you what nutrients you may need to add.
Composting involves mixing kitchen, yard and garden waste in a pile and providing conditions that encourage decomposition. The composting process is fueled by all kinds of microscopic organisms (bacteria, fungi) that take up residence inside your compost pile, continuously devouring and recycling it to produce a valuable soil amendment and rich organic fertilizer.
Organic Composting is simple once you know the ingredients that go into it. It actually then becomes a fun project that the whole family can enjoy. Here are the components that make up your compost.
Size. Make your pile at least 3′ x 3′ x 3′ – smaller piles may not heat properly and larger piles can become unmanageable and hard to turn (see Compost Physics).
Moisture. For best results, the moisture content of a compost pile should be between 40 and 60 percent. In other words, your pile should be moist, but not sopping wet.
Oxygen. Keep your pile aerated by turning the pile – oxygen keeps the microbes that break down your compost happy. Use a pitch fork, spade or compost turner to mix the pile often. Don’t aerate your compost and it will break down slowly.
Heat. As they break down organic matter, the organisms responsible for composting generate large amounts of heat, which raises the temperature inside the pile and speeds up decomposition. A “hot” pile will produce temperatures between 140 and 160˚F.
Ingredients. Make sure to include carbon-rich “brown” materials, like leaves, straw and sawdust and nitrogen-rich “green” materials, like grass clippings, vegetable peelings and manures (no pet droppings). When adding ingredients to your compost pile, try to mix a ratio of three parts brown materials to one part green. A well-balanced “diet” will ensure that composting doesn’t take too long and that you don’t end up with a slimy, smelly heap.
Learn how to apply your compost to your organic garden on the next page.
Source: Planet Natural
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