How to compost. Making your own top soil and mulch.
Building and maintaining a compost pile is as easy as pie. Don’t be intimidated by those who try to sell you chemicals and/or containers or machines. Not necessary. First of all, what is compost? Why do I need it? How come I want it?
Composting is just a term that describes the process of turning garden waste (grass clippings, leaves, weeds, etc.) into soil. Just as all dead things break down into their component parts, so does garden waste. Grass clippings literally break down over time into dirt.
“That’s convenient,” you say, “but how come I need this. I already have enough dirt.”
Ah, that’s the secret. The soil composting makes has all the nutrients and good stuff plants need for growth. Compost can be used for just about everything in the garden. Use it liberally around your bedding plants, your vegetables, with new plantings. It’s brand new “top soil” you made yourself, for free. Gardeners call it Black Gold.
Another great reason to compost is that you don’t have to bag up garden waste for disposal. Think of the time and effort composting with save you.
Many gardeners not only throw in garden waste on their compost piles, but also kitchen waste as well. This is fine, with one caveat. Chicken bones and stale donuts will draw raccoons and other pests. But coffee grounds and salad greens and lots of other organic waste is fine.
If you are going to use some of this Black Gold for your indoor plants, be sure to cook the soil first to sterilize it (eliminates pests). In a metal bucket, heat to 250 degrees for an hour.
How to Compost:
Choose a place in the yard that is out of sight. You are going to make a pile of grass clippings, leaves, anything that grows. Just pile it up. Don’t worry, your pile won’t reach the sky. The more you heap on it, the more the pile will compress. The bottom of the pile will get hot, and literally cook itself and break down. Keep piling on the leaves. That’s all there is to it.
Mulch comes from the middle of the pile:
When you need mulch for weed control, covering the soil around bushes and vegetables, take compost from the “middle” of the pile. It’s partly broken down and serves as a barrier that weeds won’t grow through. It’s the perfect mulch. Without using plastic or wood chips, your mulch will look great and slowly add nutrients to the plants as it breaks down.
Soil comes from the bottom of the pile:
When you need soil, just stick in your shovel and take it from the “bottom” of the compost pile where the mulch has already fully broken down. Use it everywhere you need soil. It’s free. You made it yourself.
© 2010 Consumer Guide by David Sullivan