The value of good compost for your garden should never be underestimated. Good quality, organic compost can add a slew of nutrients into your soil, along with beneficial microbes and fantastic drainage. This is particularly important in organic gardens, as you will not be using commercially made additives to boost the fertility of your soil. Instead, you will be using nutritious organic compost to feed and nurture the soil and your plants, just as nature intended.
Did you know that organic compost can also be customized to the needs of your specific garden? That’s right – you can add a number of additives and blends into your classic composted mix to suit the needs of your soil. For example, you can add plants rich in calcium, iron, and selenium – like dandelions and nettles – to your compost heap to transfer those minerals to your soil, thus boosting the nutritional value of your harvests. Read on to learn how to get started!
What is Compost?
The first thing you will need to know is what compost actually is. Essentially, it is a mix of decomposing organic materials, kitchen waste, manure, leaves, and other compostable items. Good quality compost is teeming with life, be it tiny microbes and beneficial bacteria or healthy, wiggling earthworms.
Proper, nutritious compost is rich, damp and odorless. It takes time to make, but the results are always worth it – plus you can always play your favorite slots NZ while you wait!
How to Start Your Compost Heap
To start your own compost pile, the first step is to find the right location. This is essential, and it is recommended that you use a spot that enjoys both sun and shade, as well as close proximity to water and to your garden.
Now that you have your spot, you will need to start thinking about your ingredients and their carbon to nitrogen ratio. You should ideally stick to a mix of 60% dry, wooden materials like sticks and wood chips, and 40% green materials such as grass clippings, leaves, and garden and kitchen waste. You can also add manure, but try to keep its proportion to around 10% of your pile. Aim for a good mix of materials – diversity is fantastic in this regard.
Adjusting Moisture Levels
Once your pile has been constructed, you can moisten it to kick start the decomposition process. Aim for dampness, but not sogginess, and mix your materials well. If you live in a high-rainfall area, cover your compost heap with a breathable fabric like a heavy landscaping fabric to prevent it from becoming too soggy.
Too much moisture will lead to rotting instead of decomposing, which will make for a stinky, slimy pile instead of the glorious compost you need! Likewise, if you live in a dry area, dampen your pile on occasion with a hose to keep it moistened.
How Long Does It Take?
Once you have completed these steps, all you need to do is wait a while before your compost is ready to use. The time frame here varies according to region, moisture levels and the ingredients you used, but a healthy heap can be harvested around every 6-12 months.
There are plenty of other methods to try too, including vermi-composting, bokashi (or aerobic) fermentation, and trench composting, all of which have their benefits. Ultimately though, this organic method is the best one for beginners, as it’s delightfully simple and produces a fantastic final product. Happy gardening!