This author has been a successful gardener for many years. From splitting hosta plants to growing vegetables, he offers several techniques.
Dirt is Dirt - Right?
Gardening is a fantastic hobby for young and old alike. It takes years to learn specific techniques to become a master gardener. It all begins with the soil. Dirt is dirt, but good garden soil is made of certain amendments. One of these amendments is called compost. This article will explore Why Compost Is Important For Your Garden. The Black Gold! Read further and learn why every gardener should understand what this material is. By the end, you will know how to build your own great compost.
What Is Compost?
Compost is decomposed organic matter that can be used as a soil amendment or fertilizer. It is made from various organic materials. These materials include:
- Grass clippings
- Old plants
- Kitchen scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Any other biodegradable materials
Composting is the process of breaking down these materials into a dark, crumbly material that is full of nutrients. It is a great way to recycle organic materials and help improve the health of your soil.
Fresh Garden Tomatoes
Why Compost Is Important For Your Garden
There are many benefits that compost brings to a garden. Compost is the best additive to the soil, making it more vital to plant growth. Below is a list of some of the benefits:
- Compost improves the condition of the soil.
- Makes it easier for the roots of the plant to grow through.
- Adds important nutrients to the soil.
- Breaks down organic materials to later add to the soil.
- Helps retain water in the soil.
- Acts as a natural deterrent to pests and diseases.
- Reduces the need for expensive fertilizers and pesticides.
- The environmentally sound source of nutrients.
Composting is an important method for the natural process of decay and transformation. It provides a great way to recycle our organic matter into the best nutrient-rich soil additive.
Compost gives the plant more access to oxygen and water. Without organisms in the soil (bacteria, fungi, and insects) the cycling of nutrients or decomposition would not exist.
To get the best from the compost it needs to be regularly added to beds and borders. Doing this will help to create a healthy soil structure which will, in turn, support healthy plant growth. So if you are looking for ways to improve your garden, consider adding compost to the mix. It is an affordable and effective way to regenerate your soil and will help you to have a greener garden.
Compost will also help in getting rid of pests. In case there's an infestation of pests in the garden, putting some compost near the affected plants can help get rid of them. The earthworms that thrive on compost will also eat away at
Fresh Homemade Compost
Methods of Building Compost For Your Garden
There are several methods for building good compost for your garden. Picking a system will be determined by the size of your garden. More importantly, it will depend on how much you wish to get involved with this process. Not to splash any water on this concept but composting is a dedicated activity. In order to reap the rewards, your understanding of the job ahead is vital.
You can also create a worm bin to help with composting. Worm bins are quite easy to make at home, and they work by having layers that alternate between "greens" or nitrogen-rich materials, and "browns" or carbon-rich materials. The worms will eat the green material, turning it into compost which you can then use in your garden.
Whichever composting method you choose, be sure to keep it moist but not wet, and mix the materials regularly. In a few months, you will have rich, black compost to help improve your garden soil.
The Portable Compost Tumbler
One of the easiest and most popular methods is to start with a portable compost bin. These bins use the principle of turning so that material inside is kept aerated and mixed.
Below is one such compost tumbler. I use this model every day to discard garbage from the kitchen. Eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, etc. I gather them up put them in the tumbler. I add additional layers of materials such as leaves, grass, dead plants, and occasional small amounts of dirt. I then turn the barrel a few times a week and bingo - I am building compost. I love this system!
VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter Dual Rotating Batch Compost Bin, 43 Gallon
- This portable tumbling composter has two separate bins for composting in batches.
- The rotating tumbler turns your compost easily.
- No digging or mixing by hand.
- Fill it with garden clippings and kitchen scraps, close the doors, and rotate the tumbler.
- The compost tumbler has adjustable air vents.
- Constructed of galvanized steel and heavy-duty PP plastic.
One of the questions that many people have is - "Doesn't it have an odor?"
The answer to this question is - No! When you have been building your compost inside this tumbler it is constantly working. Open the doors and you will not smell anything but a mild scent of decaying material.
VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter Dual Rotating Batch Compost Bin, 43 Gallon Black Door
Home Made Compost Bins
Another method is to simply create a pile of material that will decompose. This method works well if you are willing to tend the pile, turning it regularly so that it doesn't become too wet or dry. Be sure to keep the compost pile away from your house as it can have some strong smells. Working with an open-air compost pile is ideal if you have plenty of property and are away from neighbors that might complain. This method is for the gardener that wishes to produce a large amount of compost.
This method is popular for building a three-stage compost system. Constructing three bins side by side using wood palates is ideal for the midsize to large garden. Building compost using this method requires daily to weekly maintenance. Make sure that each bin is turned, added to, and watered.
Fresh Garden Vegetables
How To Make Compost More Effective
Environmentally conscious people are always looking for ways to reuse organic materials. The recycling of organic material is important because it reduces the need for fertilizers and the chemicals they contain. This in turn protects our environment and health. Remember that compost is a method of recycling used materials for use in the garden.
Add Nitrogen-Rich Ingredients
To make it easier for microorganisms to break down the plant matter in the compost, it needs a good balance of both carbon and nitrogen. Adding too much carbon will reduce its effectiveness which is why green materials such as grass cuttings, fresh leaves, and food scraps are ideal. If there is a lack of nitrogen, however, you can add manure, blood meal, or cottonseed meal which are all high in nitrogen content.
Don't Add Too Much Moisture
Compost needs air as well as moisture to work effectively and if it's too wet, the decomposing process can't take place. This means that you should avoid adding water when you add ingredients and instead, soak the compost pile in a bucket of water every few days to keep it moist rather than constantly wet.
Keep It Aerated
Oxygen is essential for microorganisms to do their job so creating air pockets within your compost pile is important. You can do this by turning it with a garden fork, mixing in cut-up branches and twigs, or adding water if it looks too dry. If you are using a tumbler system rotate it every other day.
Use Anaerobic Bacteria For Your Composting
If you want to make compost even more effective, you can use special beneficial bacteria that will break down the organic matter even more quickly. These bacteria can be found in commercially available compost starters or you can make your own by adding a cup of hot water to a pound of blackstrap molasses and stirring well.
Monitor The Temperature
Composting is an aerobic process and it needs to be kept at a temperature of between 130-160 degrees F (60-70 degrees C). This needs to happen for several days to work effectively. If the air temperature is too cold, beneficial bacteria won't grow and instead harmful pathogens may begin to multiply which can contaminate your compost pile. However, if it's too hot, the beneficial bacteria will die off leaving you with a useless pile of organic matter.
By following these simple tips, you can make your compost pile more effective and improve your garden's soil health.
Is Composting Hard To Do?
Composting is not difficult to do and can be adapted to fit any space or schedule. Along with your plans for gardening, start with a plan to build good compost. With a little effort, you can start composting today and enjoy the benefits it provides for your garden and the environment. Furthermore, compost is important for our environment because it helps the natural decomposition process and recycles organic matter to add nutrients back into the soil.
Your goal for building and using compost is to enrich the quality of your soil. Composting is a great way to convert waste into a rich material full of nutrients for your soil. With good compost added to your soil mix your garden will grow great vegetables. Have plan A for building your compost.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Reginald Thomas