What Is Compost

Compost ... just what is it and why does your garden need it?

Scientifically speaking, it is an aerobic mixture of decaying organic matter, such as leaves and manure, used as a soil amendment or conditioner.

In your garden, it's the dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling form of that decaying or decomposing organic matter.

As you continue gardening each year, the flowers and plants in your garden will be using up and depleting the nutrients in the soil.

compost gardening tips

You'll want to replace those exhausted nutrients and also continue to improve your soil conditions to sustain and maintain your beautiful garden areas.

An inexpensive way of providing your garden with additional nutrients is by the method of composting.

You can easily do this yourself in piles or tubs at home. You may want to look into and possibly invest in a tumbler specifically used for easily and conveniently turning the necessary ingredients for a good rich mixture.

There are four vital elements:

  • Carbon containing materials such as dry chopped leaves or straw, or even shredded black and white sections of newspaper
  • Nitrogen containing materials such as fresh grass clippings (use sparingly), weeds (that have not gone to seed) and other garden waste (that has not been treated with weed killer), or kitchen scraps (no meat products, bones, grease or dairy products)
  • Oxygen to provide air to the microorganisms helping to process the decaying matter
  • Moisture to encourage the materials to decompose or break down

Adding a 2-3" layer of this nutrient rich organic material to the top of your garden soil each year (1" each spring and then another 2" each fall) will help improve your soil on a regular basis and keep your flowers and plants fed with the nutrients they need to remain healthy and strong.



Composting Tip

No Wait Method

Use a large bale of peat humus (not peat moss as it is more acidic and therefore less desirable as a substitute) mixed with 10# of lime and two 50# bags of processed cow manure.

Spread a 1-2" layer over your garden area each spring and use some with each item you plant or transplant to easily keep your garden soil in good condition.

Related Articles

Mulching

Weeding

Watering

Plant Support or Staking

Fertilizing

Deadheading

Plant Division

Wintering

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