Organic garden compost is an essential part of a healthy garden, providing a range of benefits to both soil and plants. Compost can help improve water holding capacity, loosen heavy soils, and allow roots to spread easier. It is a great way to recycle organic waste and return essential nutrients back into the soil.
Organic garden compost is made up of biodegradable materials, such as leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps, fruit peels, twigs, and shredded paper. These materials break down over time, creating tiny pieces of organic matter that are teeming with beneficial microbes, minerals, and nutrients. Adding organic compost to the soil helps improve structure and aid aeration, increase nutrient levels, and reduce the amount of pollutants entering the environment.
Types of Organic garden Compost
Organic compost is an essential part of creating a healthy and beautiful garden. There are many types of organic compost to choose from, and each one has its own unique benefits. In this guide, we will be exploring the different types of organic compost, including manure, food waste compost, vermicompost, and purchased organic garden composts.
Manure is one of the most common types of organic compost. It is available in two forms – fresh and aged. Fresh manure is high in nitrogen and provides plenty of nutrients for your plants, but it should be fully composted before use as it can burn plants. Aged manure is rich in organic matter and beneficial soil microbes that help your garden thrive. It can be used in both amendment and topdressing applications.
Food waste compost is another popular option for organic gardeners. This type of compost includes kitchen scraps such as vegetable peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags. The nutrient content of food waste compost varies depending on what type of food is being composted. However, it is beneficial to your garden as it adds organic matter and feeds beneficial microorganisms.
Vermicompost, also known as worm castings, is an excellent source of nutrients for your plants. This type of compost is teeming with beneficial microorganisms that help to break down organic matter and add nutrients to the soil. Vermicompost is also high in essential trace minerals that help promote healthy plant growth.
For those looking for a more convenient option, there are several types of purchased organic garden compost. Calloway’s Organic Garden Compost, for example, is made with high-quality ingredients, such as composted rice hulls, composted pine bark, earthworm castings, and mycorrhizae. It is ideal for flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, herbs, fruits, and lawns. Composted Cow Manure is another organic soil amendment that can be used in vegetable and flower beds, lawns, and landscapes. Charlie’s Vegan Compost is a concentrated plant soil amendment dirt booster suitable for both indoor and outdoor gardens.
No matter which type of organic compost you choose, it is sure to benefit your garden. By providing essential nutrients and organic matter to the soil, these composts can give your plants the boost they need to thrive.
Making Organic Garden Compost
Making organic garden compost at home is an easy and sustainable way to enrich your soil, promote plant health, and divert organic waste from landfills. To make compost, you need a few basic materials, tools, and knowledge of how to mix the correct ratio of carbon-rich (brown) materials to nitrogen-rich (green) materials.
To create a successful compost pile, it’s important to have the right materials on hand. You’ll need organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, vegetable and fruit scraps, shredded paper products, eggshells, and yard waste. Brown materials such as twigs, straw, sawdust, and wood chips provide carbon for the composting process, while green materials such as manure, food waste, and green plant matter provide nitrogen. Additionally, you will need soil microorganisms to complete the composting process.
To get started, you will need a compost bin or pile, which can be purchased or made from materials such as wood pallets or wire mesh. A compost aerator, pitchfork, shovel, or counter-clockwise turning tool are also helpful.
The ratio of carbon-rich (brown) materials to nitrogen-rich (green) materials is often referred to as the Carbon to Nitrogen (C:N) ratio. Generally speaking, a good C:N ratio to aim for in your compost pile is 25-30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen by weight. This balance will provide enough energy for the decomposers and create an environment where they can thrive.
Creating a Compost Bin or Pile
Once you have decided the type of compost you would like to make, it is time to get ready for the setup process. To ensure successful composting, it is important to choose the right materials and layer them in an efficient way.
For a successful composting experience, it is essential to select high-quality organic materials. Ideally, these materials should be carbon-rich brown items (such as twigs, shredded paper, leaves, or straw) and nitrogen-rich green items (such as grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or manure). It is important to note that meat, dairy, and oily foods should be avoided, as they can attract pests and slow down the decay process.
Layering the organic materials in the bin or pile is necessary to encourage the decomposition process. Generally, it is best to alternate between layers of green and brown materials. Start by adding the green items to the compost bin and then add a thin layer of soil. This will provide soil microorganisms needed for the compost to break down. Continue layering green and brown materials, making sure to keep the pile moist and aerated by regularly turning it.
The process of creating a compost bin or pile is relatively simple but requires patience and attention to detail to ensure that your compost is successful. By selecting quality materials and layering them correctly, you can create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that will benefit both your garden and the environment.
The composting process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the materials used, the conditions of the pile, and how often you turn it. Turning the pile regularly will provide the necessary aeration and moisture for the pile to be successful.
Here are some tips for managing the composting timeframe:
Tips For Managing Organic Garden Compost
• Start with a layer of organic material – such as leaves or grass clippings – followed by a layer of brown material – such as twigs or shredded paper.
• Alternate layers of organic and brown materials. Make sure to keep the pile moist and aerated by turning it regularly.
• Avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily foods to the compost pile, as they can attract pests and slow down the decay process.
• Focus on adding vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and yard waste for optimal results.
• Monitor your compost pile for signs that it’s ready. When the compost is ready, it should be dark, crumbly, and have a pleasant earthy smell.
Benefits of Using Organic Garden Compost
Making compost out of organic materials can provide your garden with many benefits, such as:
- Soil amendment – Compost adds essential nutrients to your soil, helps improve water retention, and can break up clay or heavy soils.
- Topdressing plants – You can use compost as a top dressing for all kinds of plants, from trees and shrubs to flowers and vegetables.
- Potting mix – Compost also makes a great potting mix for containers and indoor plants.
Composting is a great way to help your garden, the environment, and your wallet. Not only does it reduce waste, but it also will help you create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can help you grow healthier plants.
Using homemade compost in your garden will ensure you have access to a natural, organic, and nutrient-rich material that will benefit your plants and the environment. The process of making compost is simple and rewarding and a great way to put organic materials to good use.
Composting is relatively simple, and all you need to do is combine organic materials, brown materials, and avoid adding meat, dairy, and oily foods to the compost pile. Then, you just need to keep the pile moist and aerated by turning it regularly. With patience, you’ll soon be rewarded with a nutrient-rich garden compost ready to use in your garden. So get creative and start composting to give your garden the extra boost it needs.