Garden Composting

Garden Composting / What’s Compost

Composting is an amazing natural process that has been going on since the beginning of time. It occurs all the time on forest floors, in grassy meadows and even in the dusty desert. To gardeners, compost is considered “black gold” because of its many benefits in the garden.

Composting, often described as nature’s way of recycling, is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as kitchen waste, dog poop, leaves, grass trimmings, newspaper, worms, and coffee grounds, etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen.

Actinomycetes are similar to fungus in the way they grow and spread, but its distinguishing elements are that the types of materials they are efficient at decomposing. The active nature in this microscopic bacteria and the sheer number present (about 10 million per 1 gram of soil), make them highly effective at breaking down materials like tree bark and other hard organic material.

Garden Composting / Improving Plant Life

Compost is a great material for garden soil. Adding compost to clay soils makes them easier to work and plant. In sandy soils, the addition of compost improves the water holding capacity of the soil. By adding organic matter to the soil, compost can help improve plant growth and health. There are dozens of composters available for the home gardener today.

Garden Composting / The 4 Components

The composting process involves four main components: organic matter, moisture, oxygen, and bacteria. You can compost almost all the organic matter from your household including garden cuttings, vegetable peelings and even eggshells. Tea leaves and coffee grounds are great additions because they contain caffeine, a natural herbicide.

Types of Composting

However, any meat scraps, dairy products or diseased plants should be avoided. There are 2 major types of composting, namely hot composting and cold composting. Cold composting or slow composting takes several months to a year or more.

But it has been shown to be better at suppressing soil-borne diseases than hot composting. Hot composting requires more work, but with a few minutes a day and the right ingredients you can have finished compost in a few weeks depending on weather conditions.

Composting Bins

If you have a large garden then you can compost directly in the garden. You should find a spot somewhere away from house, preferably in some corner, where compost piles can be put up. In case of small gardens, composting with compost bins is the best option.

A large variety of compost bins are available today which can effectively cater to your needs. In terms of how much compost your garden will need, it depends on soil health as well as the length of your gardening season and the amount of rain your area receives. The longer the growing season, the more compost you will need. Also in rainy climates more of the compost’s nutrients will wash away during rains, so plan accordingly.

In Closing

Composting is simple, inexpensive, and very eco-friendly. It turns readily available organic materials into valuable plant food and soil conditioner for the garden. But be careful not to use unfinished compost. It will rob plants of nitrogen instead of acting as a fertilizer.

Sources

http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/composting/basic.htm
http://www.gardenguides.com/2143-guide-composting.html
http://home.howstuffworks.com/composting-for-a-vegetable-garden.htm

For more information on composting follow these links:

Definition of Composting

How Does Composting Work

Anaerobic Composting

Composting Techniques

Composting Problems

Types of Composting

Composting Materials

Composting Tips

Easy Composting

Commercial Composting

Composting Newspaper

Composting Coffee Grounds

Composting Paper

Pet Waste Composting

Composting Dog Poop

Kitchen Waste Composting

Food Waste Composting

Self-Contained Composting Toilet

Composting Toilet Prices

Solar Composting Toilets

Composting Manure

Soil Composting

Composting Grass

Composting Leaves

Worm Composting

Red Worm Composting

Composting Equipment

Worm Composting Bins

Composting Drum

Composting Bins

Composting For Kids

Return From Garden Composting to the Benefits of Recycling home page.