What is Composting and Why Should You Do it?
You have a pretty good garden going on in your backyard, but you feel like you should be doing more to make your plants healthier. You’ve heard about composting but you aren’t sure what it is exactly.
Compost is simply decomposed organic matter, it is a natural process of recycling materials such as vegetable and fruit scraps, leaves and grass clippings, and turning them into nutrient rich soil for your garden. There are lots of things you can use for composting such as coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit peels, hay, straw, pine needles, newspaper, saw dust, and old plants from your garden.
Composting helps reduce the amount of waste going to the landfills, while feeding your soil. It keeps diseases away from your tomatoes and other veggie plants and actually improves their flavor and nutrition value. It helps your plants grow healthier by delivering a slow amount of nutrients, and keeps your soil moist. It can even work in sandy and clay soils. You can use compost along with fertilizer since compost feeds the soil while fertilizer feeds the plants.
Compost is pretty easy to make, it might be easier to start out with a plastic garbage can that is tightly covered with air holes drilled in the lid so that air can get in, or you can buy an already made composting bin. Composting is a mix of 60 percent brown things such as leaves and pine needles to 40 percent green things such as grass and food scraps. You start your pile with a 3-6 inch layer of brown things, then you add a 9-18 inch layer of green things followed by adding in some water to moisten everything up, but don’t add too much water since you don’t want your compost mixture soggy. You will need to toss the composting pile every few weeks to get air in the mixture. In the spring and summer months it might take about 6 to 8 weeks to get the right composting mix and it should look like dark soil when finished, minus the larger pieces which you will remove when adding to your garden. During the fall and winter months it may take longer to turn into soil.
You can also buy a composting tumbler that will allow you to toss around your ingredients which adds oxygen to the mix and breaks up the materials to speed up the process of turning it into soil.
So composting is a win-win situation, you will save a lot of trash and you will be helping your garden grow.