Specifically, our soil is usually not in the most optimal condition. The prohibitive truth is that most soils have some underlying negative condition including nutritional deficiencies, excessive clay or sand, poor drainage quality, inadequate soil structure and aeration, and pH imbalance issues.
Fortunately, there is a fairly simple solution, only requiring a reasonable commitment on your part. It’s known as composting and it involves the gathering of organic material that you’ve “created” and then periodically working these into your soil.
Controlled Rotting And Regular Rotation
Composting is essentially a process of controlled rotting where organic matter is gathered over time and left to decompose into an extremely beneficial soil conditioner that adds fertility and enhances soil structure.
The key to effective composting is to foster soil dwelling micro-organisms like fungi, bacteria, and also worms and insects that accumulate and then “treat” the debris you’ve stock piled. This activity will become readily apparent in time as your “pile” will begin to emanate an odor and even steam as you toss it around.
By consistently turning the decomposing material, it will break down into the some of best soil additive you can have. The composting process will take anywhere from several weeks to a couple years depending on the amount provided and the attention given.
Some Tips To Help Your Compost Decompose
There are some essentials to help it along. First off, composting requires heat so the sunnier, or less cool, the spot the better. Regardless of the spot, it must be accessible to water as pile moisture is another requirement of effective composting.
Another aspect is the size of the area or bin. While there is flexibility in this regard, do not pile it much higher than five feet as the sheer weight of the material will make it difficult to toss and turn adequately. Additionally, decomposition can slow while odors can increase under these circumstances. The ideal size is about a four-by-four square foot area, two to three feet in depth.
The compost matter needs oxygen to decompose so the pile should be rotated using a shovel and rake every few days to a week. Also, maintain moisture, but not sogginess, with a regular spritzing of water. Put gravel on the bottom to facilitate drainage, if necessary. Your compost should have the consistency of a squeezed wet sponge.
Another good idea is to shred materials like leaves and small branches before adding them to your compost. The decaying organisms work better on smaller materials comprising a lot of surface area.
When To Add Your Compost To Your Garden
The general rule of thumb for applying your compost is to add four to six inches four months before planting, two to three inches if you plant in the next two months and just one inch if you plant any sooner.
The decayed matter takes some time to fully integrate into the planting bed but the more decayed the matter, the quicker the beneficial effects. Also, when doing so, make sure to avoid large chunks that can cause air pockets to form in the soil.
Use A Variety Of Materials For Your Compost
To provide the greatest range of nutrients make your compost from a variety of materials but absolutely exclude diseased or pest infested plant matter, meat scraps, weed roots, and oils and fats.
Recommended items include coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, shredded paper, shredded leaves and plant clippings, sawdust, and fireplace ashes.
Types Of Composting Containers
Composting bins can be store-bought or home-made. When going with the factory made offerings consider the barrel-shaped types that can be rotated by turning a crank. This turning action can vastly increase the rate of decay. If going the home made route, simple fencing materials or cinder blocks can be used to form a relatively large composting area.
Regardless of how you go about it, composting is likely the best continuing practice that a gardener can undertake. It amends the soil like nothing else will, giving you a bountiful vegetable harvest and blooming flowers and herbs.Visit my site for more great gardening tips.