Homes and Garden Journal

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Garden Composting Tips

Even a novice gardener can make great garden compost with the right recipe and by following a few simple instructions. It can be a bit like cooking – composting is half art, and half science but no great mystery. Just like when a cook needs quality ingredients, successful composting in the home needs the best ingredients too.

Some materials that are great for composting include grass clippings, leaves, plant stalks, hedge trimmings, old potting soil, twigs, vegetable scraps and even things such tea bags and any green household waste. A few things you should avoid using for compost  include, diseased plants, weeds, pet waste, bread and grain, meat or fish parts, dairy products, grease, cooking oil, or oily foods. Most of these will either contaminate the compost or take too long to break down. If you are not sure exactly what does and does not go into a compost take time to research things before going ahead and starting a compost. There are plenty of resources online that can help point you in the right direction. You can also visit your local library if you are unsure of how to go about starting one and receive valuable information on how to proceed.

Photo By: mjmonty

To prepare compost successfully you need clean organic materials, microorganisms, air, water, and a small quantity of nitrogen. The organic material is what you are trying to decompose and the microorganisms are what will break down organic material. These micro organisms include bacteria and are present in soil or manure. The air, nitrogen, and water make up a good environment for the microorganisms to produce your compost. You can add nitrogen to the mixture by using some fertilizer. Air is one ingredient which you can’t have too much of and this is why you hear about turning compost piles or using a compost tumbler. The single most important thing to making good compost is air and of course a little time.

To speed up the composting process shred your organic ingredients finely and keep the mixture moist. Using a specially designed compost bin or tumbler can be a great help especially for the smaller scale composting most of us need. Think a little about what you add to your compost, the ingredients are the key.

Planning ahead will help to make your compost really valuable. It is tempting to simply throw a compost heap together and hope for the best, but you may end up being less than satisfied with the results. Compost is an invaluable help for the home gardener, providing it is built properly. It is worth researching if you know little about it and it is definitely worth taking the time to make sure it is done properly. Your garden will benefit!

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