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Composting is an Organic Gardener's Best Friend

from: Lawn and Garden Magic



Since it's organic in nature, compost is one of the best substances a gardener can use to help their plants grow strong and healthy without exposing them to any of the chemicals present in most fertilizers and pesticides.

The concept behind having an organic garden is simple: For thousands of years, before humans started to intervene in the process, the earth had no problems taking care of itself. Whatever is planted grows, matures, then dies and is returned to the earth through the natural process of decomposition. This organically decomposed matter -- compost -- is rich in soil-enhancing nutrients that increase the strength and health of future plants.

Compost is the end product of a complex feeding pattern of hundreds of creatures including bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects. What remains after these organisms break down organic materials is the nourishing, wholesome substance your garden plants will love.

Additional great features of compost are that it's easy and cheap to make and recycles material that would otherwise decompose in landfills where it wouldn't do any real good. Surprisingly, almost a third of the matter found in landfills is organic material that could have been composted and returned to the land in a more positive manner by using the compost to increase the health of garden soil. It also encourage the growth of stronger, less disease-prone plants.

The way to start composting is to build a small pile of leaves and other lawn debris, and add in coffee grounds, tea leaves, orange peels, eggshells and other garbage that will decompose. As it matures, this organic matter will decompose, and become compost that can provide nourishment for the microorganisms necessary to maintain garden soil in a healthy, balanced condition. These microorganisms, in turn, will produce nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus necessary for soil and plant health.

Just about any organic material is suitable for a compost pile, though you do need to balance the carbon-rich materials such as dried leaves, straw and wood chips, also known as "browns," with the nitrogen -- rich materials such as lawn clippings and kitchen scraps.

Carbon provides energy for the microbes, and the nitrogen provides protein; using too much carbon material will cause the materials in your compost to take longer to break down, while too much nitrogen will make the pile smelly. Many gardening experts consider the best ratio between these two to be 25 parts "browns" to every one part of "greens." If you can grind up yard waste prior to putting in your compost heap, it will disintegrate faster.

A word of caution: Some leaves and branches contain natural toxins and should not be included in your composting process. All parts of black walnut trees should be excluded, as well as leaves from eucalyptus trees, poison ivy, poison oak and sumac.




 

Composting News

Composting can aid biosecurity - Iowa Farmer Today


Composting can aid biosecurity
Iowa Farmer Today
With the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), more pork producers are looking for safe and efficient methods to dispose of mortalities. Composting, says Kris Kohl, could be the answer. Kohl, Iowa State Extension ag engineer in Storm Lake ...

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City of Austin expands home composting program - Austin American-Statesman (blog)


City of Austin expands home composting program
Austin American-Statesman (blog)
April 15, 2014. From the City of Austin: Austin Resource Recovery has expanded its Home Composting Rebate Program by making it available to most City of Austin residents and introducing a new $75 coupon option, City of Austin officials announced today.
Go green and save some green, Austin expands home composting rebate programKXAN.com

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Breaking it down: Composting at home and on an industrial scale - News-Herald.com


Breaking it down: Composting at home and on an industrial scale
News-Herald.com
Maribeth Joeright/MJoeright@News-Herald.com Glen Oldaker, compost supervisor at Lake County Sanitary/Sewer Department, drives a machine to turn compost which is then used for lawns, vegetable gardens and more. Sandy Miller of Painesville didn't ...

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Composting an easy way to boost gardens - Mansfield News Journal


Composting an easy way to boost gardens
Mansfield News Journal
MANSFIELD — After you build a compost pile, nature does most of the work, according to “Composting: A Citizen's Guide to the Proper Disposal of Leaves and Other Organic Materials.” Anyone can do it at home. And once you learn the basic composting ...

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EARTH DAY: Bill ups funding for recycling, composting initiatives - FOX 9 News


Hudson Valley Reporter

EARTH DAY: Bill ups funding for recycling, composting initiatives
FOX 9 News
... it now collects more than $70 million in assessments. At a Capitol news conference, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges argued that increase SCORE grants would help the city achieve the goal of recycling and composting 75 percent of the city's solid waste.
Recycling Numbers Continue to Rise at UCUniversity of Cincinnati
Taking out the trashRedEye Chicago
How suburbanites can make good recycling even betterChicago Daily Herald
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Improve composting in honor of Earth Day; 5 bourbons you should be drinking ... - The Oregonian


Improve composting in honor of Earth Day; 5 bourbons you should be drinking ...
The Oregonian
Composting made easy: It's Earth Day, and our thoughts are on all the simple things people can do to help make the environment. One of those is composting at home, which turns lawn debris and kitchen waste into nutrient-rich mulch for gardens and ...

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