As we are quickly getting into this summer, many of us are either planting or working on our summer gardens. The key to a plentiful summer garden is one important thing, compost. Composting is a low maintenance way to recycle at home and to build a nutrient rich soil for your own vegetable garden. A compost pile does not require much maintenance and can produce soil rich in organic matter to nourish your plants and support their growth. In just a few easy steps and with a couple tips you can be on your way to having a fully running compost pile right in your backyard.
Step 1: Building the perfect container.
A compost bin can easily be made from tying some wooden pallets together into a cube shape or just making a container out of wire shaped into some sort of cube also. It doesn’t have to look pretty, just be durable enough to hold together when filled with your compost!
Step 2: The mix.
The mix for the perfect compost is very low maintenance and doesn’t have to consist of anything besides brown and green matter to become a perfect soil. Brown matter includ
es things that can be found readily around a yard like small sticks, dry leaves, wood chips and even shredded paper can be used. Brown matter contains carbon and green matter contains nitrogen, which create the optimal medley to a healthy soil. Now your green matter, this is where your ability to recycle really kicks in. This will consists of mostly food scraps from a kitchen. Here is a list of the perfect components to green matter : eggshells, fruit and vegetable scraps, peels, and cores, coffee grounds, loose leaf tea, non-dairy milks, used paper towels and napkins, cooked pasta and rice and stale breads, just to name a handful! It’s important to have variety in your compost to ensure you are getting an abundance of different nutrients to mix. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you add one color of matter, you should add as much of an equal amount as possible of the other color to keep your carbon and nitrogen levels in balance in your compost. And starting with a decent base of garden soil is good also to give your compost something to decompose into!
Step 3: Make sure to keep up with y
A compost doesn’t have many chores that tag along with it to ensure it stays healthy. The most important thing to do with your developing compost is to stir it once a week or once every other week. This will make sure that everything is mixing together and all the different nutrients will come in contact with each other to produce the best soil possible. The only other chore is to check the moisture levels. Too dry and your compost will take a very, very long time to decompose into soil but too wet and you’ll upset the break down process and not have a well-balanced compost. What is best is to look for a damp texture. Your compost soil can be ready in as soon as a couple months after you start it depending on the size and how often you add things to it.
Composting can be an easy, fun, and useful summer project for anyone that has a large vegetable garden, to just a few raised beds, to even just a couple flower pots! The end product will be the healthiest soil you could come across and provide your growing plants with the best nutrition that will help them grow into the most delicious fruits and vegetables. I have been helping my family with our compost for the past few years and we always make sure to use it in our garden planting as our secret ingredient to successful growth. Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty and start building your own compost this summer!
If composting just is not for you, explore opportunities to have your compostable waste picked up by Mr. Fox Composting, or, check Seacoast Harvest for a list of local farms that sell compost.