Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Guide to Compost Gardening

Compost gardening is a great way to combat food costs as they rise without sacrificing your personal, and familial, health. Compost gardening is relatively simple, and involves only two things: composting your scraps and then growing a garden with it. Read on to learn how to start off strong, and what to do once you’ve made your first compost.

Getting Started with Compost Gardening

If you have the space, opt for a large compost bin. Those living in apartments can still use a smaller compost. Ideally, you should have ample yard space to accommodate the larger version. While some compost gardeners use garbage bags, they don’t do much to protect you from the odor of the compost as it decomposes. Once you have your compost, prepare to spend some time researching compost gardening.

The Basics

Compost gardening involves filling bags or compost bins with plant wastes, fertilizer and lime. After adding your plant wastes or scraps, toss in a tablespoon of garden fertilizer that has a particularly high nitrogen level. Add a cup of lime in each bag to counter the acidity that results from anaerobic composting. When you’re done, add a quart of water and close it tightly.

After you’ve sealed it shut, you just have to wait. How long you wait depends on how much you want it to be fertilized. Some suggest 6-12 months, while others feel only a few months is needed. To speed up the process, you can run the compost through a shredder or chipper, though that isn’t entirely ideal for most gardeners.

Planting with Compost

Make a plan for your compost garden. You need to consider what fruits and vegetables are a favorite at the dinner table, or what the family would be willing to eat if it came from your backyard garden. Since compost is natural fertilizer, it will serve a number of plants and vegetables, though you should consider what is common to grow in your area.

Cucumber and squash typically grow well in compost, but take into consideration your climate, location and other factors as they may not be the best choices. Remember that patience is key when it comes to growing a garden. Start planting your organic seeds and caring for them to avoid GMOs and get yourself on the path to savings!

What to Compost (source)
Material
Carbon/Nitrogen
Info
 table scraps
Nitrogen
 add with dry carbon items
 fruit & vegetable scraps
Nitrogen
 add with dry carbon items
 eggshells
neutral
 best when crushed
 leaves
Carbon
 leaves break down faster when shredded
 grass clippings
Nitrogen
 add in thin layers so they don’t mat into clumps
 garden plants
 use disease-free plants only
 lawn & garden weeds
Nitrogen
 only use weeds which have not gone to seed
 shrub prunings
Carbon
 woody prunings are slow to break down
 straw or hay
Carbon
 straw is best; hay (with seeds) is less ideal
 green comfrey leaves
Nitrogen
 excellent compost ‘activator’
 pine needles
Carbon
 acidic; use in moderate amounts
 flowers, cuttings
Nitrogen
 chop up any long woody stems
 seaweed and kelp
Nitrogen
 apply in thin layers; good source for trace minerals
 wood ash
Carbon
 only use ash from clean materials; sprinkle lightly
 chicken manure
Nitrogen
 excellent compost ‘activator’
 coffee grounds
Nitrogen
 filters may also be included
 tea leaves
Nitrogen
 loose or in bags
 newspaper
Carbon
 avoid using glossy paper and colored inks
 shredded paper
Carbon
 avoid using glossy paper and colored inks
 cardboard
Carbon
 shred material to avoid matting
 corn cobs, stalks
Carbon
 slow to decompose; best if chopped up
 dryer lint
Carbon
 best if from natural fibers
 sawdust pellets
Carbon
 high carbon levels; add in layers to avoid clumping
 wood chips / pellets
Carbon
 high carbon levels; use sparingly

Eco-friendly Tips for Gardeners

Avoid using your water sprinklers if the weather forecast calls for rain. Water your garden early in the morning to prevent evaporation. Using a ‘smart timer’ on your sprinkler system will lessen your usage based on the condition of the weather. Smart timers use local forecast from weather stations and satellites to automatically water your garden with the exact amount of water needed.

Choose to grow plants that are native to your area or adapted to the climate. Rather than using commercial pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals on your growing plants, learn to how to control weeds and pests naturally.

To help keep the soil cool and maintain its moisture content, place a layer of dried leaves, grass clippings or bark around your trees and plants. Doing this also helps control weeds.

Do you practice compost gardening? Please share your technique below!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

About Author

No Comment

Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter a message.