Feeding your plants and soil organically through composting
Just as in nature plants need the right balance on nutrients at a rate which is required for optimal growth,flowering and fruiting as well as to prevent disease and insect problems. When plants are fertilized with granular or water soluble commercial fertilizer nutrients of excessive nitrogen is hard to break down and cannot get the balance that is needed. When using organic compost it works directly to prevent plants from soil borne pathogens by inoculating them with organisms to fight disease.
Over the years composting has become present and practiced more and more for good reason. It is eco-friendly and good practice that reduces landfill space, saves money and delivers organic and much needed super charged nutrients that bagged or water soluble fertilizers can’t come close too.
Ready to learn how to compost and make your plants and environment happy?
Step:1 Establish a compost site: Many companies out there will try to get you buy their fancy, spinning, plastic compost bin. NO! Why? all you need is a flat piece of ground say 3’x3′ and in shaded area as to not dry out to quickly. If you are wanting to make large amounts of compost consider a larger area or multiple smaller piles.
Step:2 Gather your composting materials. You will need carbon rich materials such as leaves, shredded news print, straw, pine needles old cardboard boxes that have broken down into smaller pieces. This is referred to as “brown materials”. You will also need nitrogen rich material such as lawn grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps, horse,cow and chicken manures which are referred to as “green materials”. By combining these two types of materials it is a fuel for micro beneficial, micro organisms that decompose your compost pile. Please (do not ) use meat scraps, cat or dog feces or litter box. By doing this you will be producing unpleasant odors that will attract flies and attract scavengers like possums, raccoons, coyotes. And who wants that?
Step:3 Stir it up! Turn your compost pile over every week or two. You can speed up the process by shoveling or forking the pile into an empty ajacent space. Mix it up well by moving the decaying material from top to bottom and outside to inside. Don’t worry as long as you schuffle and move the pile you will continue to see it breaking down into that glorious “black gold”.
Step:4 Water as needed. Just as house plants, compost can be over watered to much. To much water can drown out beneficial microorganisums and leach out valuable nutrients. By keeping it moist you will be sure your material is breaking down properly. If the pile looks dry “give it a drink” but on average water once every week or two. Note: If heavy rains you will need to cover your pile with plastic.
Step:5 What you have been waiting for. Your compost pile will finish composting between 1 and 5 months and will be determined how often your turned it, moisture level and size of pile. Bigger material like sticks and small branches should be broken into smaller pieces to insure quicker composting.
When your compost pile is finished! It should have a rich ,earthy, organic smell and deep dark brown color. Now is the time to feed your plants and soil to use as a potting mix, amending your garden plants and beds or fertilize with this nutritious organic matter that your plants will thank you for by showing you healthier and vibrant growth and flowers, larger yields on your vegetables, when you see the results you will know it was well worth it. So get out there. Get get some fresh air. Feed your plants, your soil and soul and help Mother Nature as well. Happy Gardening!