Imagine a lush garden with bountiful fruit and vegetables that keep your family happy and satisfied all year round. It isn’t a pipe dream. With a little trial and error and the right gardening tools and soil, you can reach the goal of living off the land. One key component many gardeners have realized is essential to making their gardens fruitful is compost. You may have heard about compost and even seen the stuff before and turned your nose up at it. It may not seem like it would be anything you would be interested in considering it is basically trash that you are spreading in your garden, but compost is a lovely things and it will work wonders in your garden soil.
Benefits of Compost
Composting has many benefits for you and the neighborhood in which you live. Considering compost is nothing more than broken down organic material, you are going to reduce the amount of trash you produce by turning it into a natural soil enhancer. Along with reduced trash in the landfills, there are plenty of other benefits.
- Compost improves existing soil structure. Garden soil should be somewhat crumbly. Water and air need to be able to move through the soil freely. By adding organic matter i.e. compost to sandy or loamy soil, you can improve the overall structure.
- The organic nature of compost will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Your roots will have the nutrients they need to grow healthy, productive plants.
- Healthier soil with better soil structure will use less water.
- Healthier plants in general when they are given a nutrient rich soil.
What to Compost
Now that you see how beneficial compost is, you are probably wondering what you can actually throw in your compost pile. Basically, anything and everything from the kitchen and from yard cleanup. If you chickens and horses, when you clean out the coop and stalls, toss the poo in the pile. There are only a few things you would not want to put into your compost pile simply because it can cause bacteria and attract bugs that you don’t want.
What NOT to compost:
- Meat bones, skin, fat
- Dairy products i.e. milk, sour cream, yogurt
- Cooked rice
- Cat litter box material
- Dog poop
- Seed heads from weeds
- Ashes from fireplace or firepit
- Used oil or grease
When you think about what you throw in the trash now, you will see that about 50 percent of what you would normally send to the landfill can actually be recycled and turned into something great for the garden.
You can help aid the decomposition process by shredding things like cardboard and newspaper. It isn’t a good idea to put glossy magazines into the pile simply because there are lots of chemicals and what not on the pages of the magazine.
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