Whether you are an organic gardener or not, composting should be an integral part of your garden program. Not only is it very good for your soil, it is also the environmentally responsible thing to do. Just as we recycle trash at home including bottles, glass and plastics, we should do the same with our kitchen scraps, grass clippings and yard/garden waste. Why fill up your local landfill when nutrient rich green waste can be broken down and spread on the garden?
Probably the most important long term benefit to organic gardening is the wellbeing of your soil. The more chemical based fertilizers you use, the weaker your soil becomes and thus requires more and more synthetic additives to maintain its viability. You are much better off adding good compost, natural manures, ocean based fertilizers, etc. which not only result in better harvests, but also in stronger, healthier, sustainable soil.
Composting is really quite simple. You can either buy ready made bins or build your own. Most do it yourself home centers sell round composting barrels which can be rolled in order to mix your waste, or they offer cube shaped bins with lids which allow you to mix by hand from the top with a garden fork. These bins can be a little expensive, so consider doing something on your own.
If you want to know how to compost the easy way it is to simply to start a pile on the ground. The only drawback here is that easy access will attract animals and it can get a little messy. Building bins will keep your composting area neat and give you more control over the temperature moisture levels of your decaying waste. Each bin should be at least one cubic yard and having three of them is ideal. This way, you can move the waste from one bin to the next as the compost goes through the breakdown stage. You place fresh waste material in the first bin and after a month or so, move it to the second. A few weeks later it goes to the last bin where it is finished off and removed for spreading on the garden. Keep repeating this cycle and you will have a steady supply of super rich compost all season long.
Like anything else, it does take a little work to manage an effective composting program. Proper aeration and temperature are the keys. Every week or so, you need to “turn”your pile over in order to keep it somewhat “fluffy”allowing for good air circulation. As the waste material breaks down it will generate heat, thus “cooking”your compost and speeding up the process. Done properly, you can actually feel the heat emanating from your pile. If there seems to be no heat, simply add more high nitrogen waste and the cooking will resume.
Get into composting and your flowers and vegetables will look better, taste better and last longer. Plant roots will thrive in soil that is full of nutrients and soft enough to allow those roots to grow deep and strong. GO ORGANIC AND COMPOST!