Compost for Gardening
How do you make compost for gardening? What is compost anyway? Let’s look at what compost is and how to go about creating compost for gardening.
A compost pile is simply a method of changing crude organic materials into something resembling soil, called humus. Compost making is a simple process. You can make it a part of your lawn maintenance routine by something as simple as bagging your lawn clippings and placing them in a compost pile.
Composting is using natural processes of bacteria, earthworms, etc. to break down the organic material. Once the organic material is broken down, it resembles soil and contains nutrients which are beneficial to your garden when added to the existing soil. Compost can be used to replace nutrients removed by your plants during the growing season instead of chemical fertilizers. Once compost is worked into the existing soil it is slowly broken down further by the life that exists in the soil and releases nitrates which the plants in your garden use to grow. This is the same concept as the nitrogen fertilizer you can purchase to place on your garden. However, this process is natural and doesn’t require any chemicals.
Composting artificially accelerates the decomposition of crude organic matter. When tilled into soil compost that hasn’t completely broken down doesn’t immediately act as fertilizer. It won’t immediately contribute to plant growth until it has decomposed further. If the compost is allowed to continue to decompose until virtually all of the organic matter has changed into humus then the compost can immediately begin feeding the plants in your garden. Composting allows us to recycle organic material such as grass, leaves and vegetable matter in an environmentally friendly way.
Making a compost pile is relatively easy. You can use grass clippings, garden waste, leaves, etc. You can use commercial compost bins or simply place your organic matter into a pile. You want to keep the pile moist by either rainfall or occasionally sprinkling the pile with water. Turning the pile with a hay fork or other tool will allow air in the keep the bacteria and other microbes working on breaking down the organic matter. You can use clear plastic sheeting to hold in the heat to help the compost pile break down. Heat and moisture are the keys to getting good compost from your compost heap. This speeds up the break down of the organic matter into humus.
Once you have a supply of humus it’s time to work it into your garden soil. If you want to be completely natural you can use a spade to mix the compost into your soil. You can also use a rotary tiller to mix the compost into your soil. Going over the area several times with a rotary tiller will really mix the soil well and you should then have a dark rich soil perfect for growing your favorite garden vegetables.
Try out composting to improve your soil and get away from the expense of chemical fertilizers. It’s the natural way to improve your soil and feed your garden plants.
Let me know about your experience with composting in the comments section below.