Let's get Composting!
Creating your own Organic Gardening Compost is the best way I can think of to get rid of your kitchen scraps and garden clippings.
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You'll also be doing your bit for the environment by reducing landfill and it's a fabulous product to add to your soil. It adds nutrients and improves poor quality soil by aerating it and improving its water retention. You'll be taking your organic vegetable gardening to the next level.
Starting a compost pile requires more than just throwing your food scraps into a heap. It's not hard though and with a few tips and techniques you'll have superb free compost for your organic vegetable garden.
Firstly, where are all these veggie scraps, lawn clippings and old newspapers going to go? You have a few options here and your choice will depend not only on the space you have available but the time you want to spend and what suits you personally.
What! You don’t want a compost heap?! There are many other options to ensure you are not adding to the ever growing landfill so please read on…
Have a bucket in the kitchen to keep the scraps in. Have a lid to keep the smells in and the bugs out. See if you have something suitable already or you can purchase from a large range of buckets to suit your kitchen look.
You can make your own – make sure there is no bottom and you have a lid.
If you would like to buy one, there are many types of bins on the market. The standard upright bin – you cannot turn your compost with these so stick your garden fork in every now and again to aerate it. Also be more aware of your layers (more details below).
You can buy a compost tumbler / compost mixer. These make it easy to turn your compost by just turning the handle. They have their pros and cons like anything. Check out a few varieties before making a purchase. It's amazing how many types of bins there are so take your time and choose one that suits you and your garden.
If you are going to make a Compost Heap a good size is 3' x 3' x 3'. This size should generate enough heat during decomposition to sterilize.
How do you make compost? Here you'll find details on compost ingredients and how to make your Compost Heap
Organic Compost Tea
You can also make compost tea which you can use to water your plants, pots and around trees. Compost Tea Recipe: Add some compost to a bucket, add an equal amount of water and let it sit – once it’s a nice brown sludgy mixture - add to your garden.
Add this to your garden anywhere from 2 – 8 times per year. You will have to determine this by the health of your soil and plants.
This is the simple version. If you like this idea you can get more technical! Some like to aerate their compost tea by adding a pump. You can even purchase a compost tea brewer (there is a product for everything isn’t there!)Worm Farm
You could put one on your balcony! A Worm Farm has layers of moveable trays with holes in them so the worms can eat their way up to the top, leaving you with fertilizer on tap.
There are many worm compost bin suppliers on the net, also ask your hardware store.
Of course you could also make your own worm farm.Raising Chickens
I love having chickens roaming around the garden. Sometimes it makes it a bit tricky to find the eggs! Chickens are a great asset to your garden - your feed them your scraps and some seed and they give you eggs and fertilizer in return! Chook poo is a great addition to your Organic Gardening Compost.Kitchen Compost Bucket
If you live in an apartment I would suggest you purchase a "Kitchen Compost Pail"
rather than try to make your own. The commercial varieties have charcoal filters in them to help neutralize the odor.
The rules here are a bit different for the compost heap when deciding what to put in. Fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, tea and coffee grounds can go in. Meat, cooked food or dairy should not go in a normal compost heap but with some of the products on the market you can add some or all of these ingredients. Check the instructions with the compost containers before you purchase to see what you can add.
Spent Mushroom Compost can be dug into your garden beds or added to your compost bin. Once it has been used for growing mushrooms it is not used again. However, due to the process the compost goes through to make it suitable to grow mushrooms, it may not be organic. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides may have been used.
Spent Mushroom compost is cheap and if you want to add it to your garden, do your research first. I found some good Pros and Cons on this site: http://squtch.quiet-like-a-panther.org/story/mushroom_compost-34.Weed Tea
Or Compost Weed Tea - make use of those pesky weeds you don't want to put into your compost in case they take over or drop their seeds.Cook those Weeds
This is a super easy compost method. It’s good for weeds, bulbs, roots, grasses, etc that you don’t want to put direct into your compost heap.
Put the weeds, etc into a black plastic garbage bag. Leave it in the sun for a one to two months. The contents can then be added to the compost heap or dig into your garden.Bury it!
So if you just don’t have the time or the materials to make a compost heap but you’d like to get rid of your veggie scraps, just dig a hole and bury them. If you can, find a spot in your garden where you’d like to put some plants for the next season, that way you’ll give the scraps time to break down and you’ve given the soil a boost for the new plants.
Your Compost makes excellent mulch. To find out more about mulching your garden check out my Mulch page.
I hope you've found an Organic Gardening Compost solution for you and your vegetable garden. Happy Composting!
"Organic Gardening and Compost - the perfect match!"