Thursday, December 10, 2009

Four Points to Consider When Composting

There are a tremendous amount of benefits to creating and using compost for your home vegetable garden. Compost adds much needed nutrients and minerals to your soil to enhance the environment in which your plants will grow, it allows for better water drainage, and increases the volume of your soil. Here are some things you should consider when starting your own compost pile.

Location is a key factor that you should consider before you even put the first items into your compost pile. I am not talking about where in your yard the compost pile will be, but more specifically whether or not your local town or city will even allow it. If you live in a rural part of the world, then chances are you will be allowed. However, if you live in a city, with lots of people, then you need to check the laws in your local area to make sure they are ok with it.

Now that you know you can actually have a compost pile at your house, what should you put in it? A good compost pile is made up of many ingredients of organic material. You want a good mix to ensure that all of the nutrients your plants and soil will need are included. Grass clippings, leaves (from various tree species), twigs, pine needles and so forth make up for great organic material. You can use your food leftovers, but because of the possibility of rodent intrusion, I bury my food scraps about eighteen inches beneath the top soil in my garden. My compost pile is solely for the material previously mentioned.

How Much
In short; as much as you can make and have the space for. In fact, the more the merrier I always say. Your plants can use a constant supply of compost throughout the growing season. This will lead to better tasting vegetables, healthier plants and better soil. A typical compost pile can break down in about three months, so I can keep three piles going so I can harvest fresh compost on a monthly basis all year round. If you can maintain a practice such as this, you will reap many benefits as well.

Work the Pile
Some purists believe you should leave the compost pile alone, while others say to check the temperature of the middle of the pile and when it reaches over 155 degrees Fahrenheit, use a pitchfork and turn the pile over. I have successfully created compost using both methods, although the `turning the pile` over method will create usable compost faster. The choice is yours.

Sun, water, soil and compost, the four basic items your plants will need to grow and thrive in your home vegetable garden. If you can master the art of creating good compost, your plants will reward you with tasty bountiful harvests for years to come.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

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