Black Gold: Making your own Compost

The garlic is planted and it’s time to start thinking about next season. Aside from enjoying winter, there is something you can do to get ready for next season: compost.

One of the keys to great organic garlic is great soil. Great soil, or even good soil, is not always at your finger tips, but it can be created using great organic compost. You can purchase organic compost for your home garden, but it can be more empowering to make your own.

Start now and you’ll have beautiful, nourishing compost for your garlic crop and vegetable gardens next year.

According to Eartheasy.com “The key to successful composting is maintaining a balance between carbon and nitrogen materials in the compost bin. A healthy compost pile should have about two-thirds carbon (brown) materials and one-third nitrogen (green) materials. The carbon-rich materials provide aeration to speed up the composting process, eliminate foul odors and help produce a light, fluffy finished compost.”

The following chart from Squidoo gives composting guidelines. And here are some other composting tips to keep in mind:

  • Aerate: Your compost needs oxygen in order to break down the materials. Aerate your compost by stirring it regularly with a pitch fork or shovel.
  • Let the worms work for you. Worms break down the wastes in your compost. Collect them as you find them in your yard and garden and add them to your compost bin. The more, the better!
  • Worms love coffee grounds – keep them happy.
  • Egg shells are great in compost. Give them a head start by rinsing and breaking them up before adding them to your compost pile.
  • Keep your compost moist, but not too wet.
  • Keep your composter in direct sun, if possible. The heat will help speed things up.
  • Aged manure can help you get a head start on the nitrogen your compost will need to succeed.
  • Layer in some dry leaves – this adds air, space, carbon and nutrients.
  • Use wood ash sparingly – it can help maintain a neutral condition, the best environment to help microorganisms break down organic materials. Sprinkle a little bit of ash on each layer of compost.
  • What goes in, comes out: don’t use materials that have been exposed to pesticides; don’t use plant matter that is diseased; don’t use night soil or pet waste.

Composting is a simple process that yields great benefits. It helps regenerate poor soils, encourages the production of helpful micro-organisms, reduces the need for water and fertilizers, suppresses plant diseases and even reduces pollution. What could be more empowering than that?

image source: www.organic-compost-tumbler.com

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