Green Tip: Compost

Skip the poisons and layer on some all-natural compost, instead. 

Compost, ewwww we know it sounds gross.   Start by throwing in your vegetable waste, instead of allowing it to be trucked off to the landfill. Known as “gardener’s gold,” compost enriches soil fertility by giving it a shot of high-powered, plant-loving nutrients. Aside from stimulating healthy root development, the addition of rich and earthy compost also improves soil texture, aeration, and water retention. Win-Win.

Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden. It’s a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus to your lawn or garden that fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make, and good for the environment.
How to:
Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.
Lay branches or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.
Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, banana peels, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.
Add manure, green manure (grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.
Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let the rain do the job.
Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked.
Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material like straw. Once you’ve established your compost pile, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.
Is your pile steaming?? A hot, steamy pile means that you have a large community of microscopic critters working away at making compost.  Good job!!

If this sounds too hard and you want to buy a composter, rather than build your own compost pile, you may consider a buying a rotating compost tumbler which makes it easy to mix the compost regularly.  If you’re unable to generate enough compost at your home, Living Earth would love to supplement you with our Premium Organic Compost.