Today is Monday and it's day one of my Earth day week posts. We started a compost a while ago and it hasn't been that great so we decided to do some research on how to make it better and this is what I decided to do....
A year ago I heard that Compost is the heart and soul of organic gardening. You don't have to be a farmer or an earth worm to reap the benefits of composting. I heard it was easy to do and the benefits are amazing for the pay off.
You can compost your own garden and kitchen waste at home with very little effort. Adding organic matter to your garden will improve the structure, water holding capacity, and aeration of soils containing too much clay or too much sand. Compost is the most often recommended source of organic material. It is easy to make, easy to use, and contains a storehouse of nutrients. So with that we plowed our garden yesterday.... I will write about this later in the week.
I didn't consider this but Let's just start to consider how much work is really involved, equipment required, and when will the compost is ready. ( I thought I would blink and it would be ready... yeah not so much) Composting can be as much or as little work as you want to make it. The more effort you put into it, the faster you will have finished compost. ( note to self. This is why your compost isn't working as fast as you wanted it to be..... ) oh and you have to water it down yeah didn't know that either.
The only required equipment is a shovel or pitchfork to turn or move the contents of the compost pile. Your pile can be built anywhere except up against a structure such as a shed or a solid fence. There will be bugs and worms helping you compost and you want them in the pile, not in the shed or the house. Two feet is a safe distance from any structure. A bin is unnecessary. You can just build your pile on the ground. ( this is what we have done but we are using recycled wooden pallets, tomorrow hubs is going to put them together to make a u shape to hold the contents.)
We need a variety of plant material to start off with. Grass clippings and kitchen scraps provide nitrogen while leaves and dried straw provide carbon. You simply throw in organic materials as they become available. To speed things up, we suggest you turn the pile every other week. ( yeah we are doing that now :) ) The finished compost pile will have shrunk! It only takes up about a quarter of the space of the original pile. When the individual materials can no longer be identified and the pile looks like dark, rich soil, the compost is complete. It will smell sweet, woodsy, and earthy. It will crumble through your fingers. If it smells bad, it is either too wet or not getting any oxygen. ( So ours isn't doing this so we are having a heck of a time getting it to work we are figuring out what we need to do next....) I will research this tomorrow so we can get it to work.
Keep a large coffee can under your kitchen sink for kitchen scraps, it can sit a few days before any odor starts to waft into the kitchen. Coffee grounds have a pleasant smell that hides most other odors - keep them in the paper filter, it will break down too!
What you need to not go near to for your compost.:diseased vines from tomatoes and squashes as they may contaminate the pile animal fats such as meat scraps, grease, or bones as they might attract unwelcome critters!
What you can use in your compost: You can use eggshells, bone meal, dried blood, and even hair if you wish, these provide beneficial minerals and may help discourage garden pests. Use your homemade compost as a side dressing for your garden rows. The nutrients will fertilize your crops organically. ( Note to self, ask hair salons and coffee shops for their old hair and coffee grounds! :)
Tomorrow I will tell you all about what to do next for your garden. I am trying this week to no longer have to use the Waste management for trash service, On a good note, Kingston got their own solar charged trash cans all along down town. This made my green heart melt. No if I can get the " restaurants" in Kingston to get rid of the styrofoam containers. These drive me mad with craziness, truth be told we haven't been in the 50's in a long time so why are we still using things that we have other means to use that are better for the earth? I have an idea.... if you go out this week and order take out see if your places will put your take out in your own re-useable containers? Maybe we can all start a new trend. :) Thank you!!!!