One of the most important parts of gardening is having good, strong, nutritious soil! As plants grow, their soil loses nutrients and needs to be replenished. One of the easiest ways to rejuvenate your soil is through composting. It's simple to start and you most likely have everything you need already. Composting can lead to more fulsome and enjoyable plants, vegetables, and flowers.
Decide how you would like to start your compost pile. Some options include building your own bin, or purchasing one made of plastic or a metal, such as steel. Choosing the container you use also means choosing your amount of space. For those with a small yard, or if you want to start on a smaller scale, the Joraform Composter or the Kitchen Composter from Park Seed would be two great options. The Joraform Composter is great for an average-size family and can sit outside, while the Kitchen Composter fits perfectly on your countertop inside.
Next you need to gather the items you would like to put in your compost pile. You will want to layer organic items such as yard/garden clippings, dry leaves, kitchen scraps (no meat, oil/grease, or dairy), shredded paper, coffee grounds, and even eggshells. Make sure that your materials are shredded or chopped as fine or small as possible to help the decomposition process. Refrain from adding any type of meat or bones, diseased plant materials, sawdust, or weeds that go to seed (such as dandelions). This will ensure you have a nutritiously strong compost pile that will give your plants the nutrients they need!
After you combine all your items, add some soil and a little water, mix it all together, and wait! Patience has a big part in this process as you wait for your compost to blend together and create something wonderful. You can add some compost booster to speed up the process, or even add manure (not from cats or dogs). Over time (several months or up to one year depending on the size) the materials will decompose and turn into a natural plant fertilizer called "humus."
You will need to mix and turn the materials every week to aid in decomposition and ensure proper aeration. Make sure to keep your pile covered or your bin shut to keep pests out. After your pile has completed composting, you can add it to your plants by mixing it with their soil. This will replenish the nutrients in your soil and your plants will be happy and healthy.
Happy Gardening! For more information and product help, visit Park Seed!
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By Joan Casanova, Bonnie Plants,
Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Plants, Inc.
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