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.
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!
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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!