I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but even I understand that in order for the human body to work properly it needs a daily supply of the necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to give it the energy it needs to function. We as humans do this in the form of the food we eat and for many a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
Plants, like humans, also need nutrients in order to function. Without the proper nutrients, plants will not be able to grow or thrive. Unlike flowers, the plants you grow in your home vegetable garden require these nutrients; otherwise they will not produce the edible harvest you are expecting. Those tomatoes and cucumbers you are trying to grow could be limited in size, flavor or even worse, not produce at all.
The best way of making sure you are delivering to your vegetable plants the nutrients they need is through composting. Compost is the end result of organic matter breaking down, usually through natural means or through the help of other sources such as worms or compost tumblers. Composting is the activity by which you add compost to your home vegetable garden. When you do this, it’s like giving your garden its daily dose of a multi-vitamin or mineral.
Most people do not mess around with making their own compost because they feel it is too much work. So, I have put together my three suggestions to make composting a bit easier.
Shred those leaves and grass clippings. What is cooler than getting to dump leaves, twigs and grass clippings into a tool that then shreds it into tiny particles? When you do this, the organic material, in this case the grass, leaves and twigs, will break down faster. Therefore simply add it directly to your garden. Some people I know like to set the shredder up so it “shoots” the material right into the garden where they can then use a garden rake to spread it out.
Bury, bury, bury! Let’s face it your family, like mine has leftovers from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead of throwing those leftovers away, go bury them about eighteen inches deep in your garden. Underneath your soil is an entire ecosystem that would love eat those leftovers and when they are done, they leave you compost. They did all of the work, and you reap all of the rewards, well your vegetable garden does, but you get the idea.
Let the worms do all of the work. There is no better additive for your garden then compost and there is no better form of compost than vermicompost. Vermicompost is the end result of worms breaking down organic matter and then they, the worms, release their castings, which are called vermicompost. There will come a time when you simply just can’t do suggestion number two stated earlier, so you may want to consider keeping a worm farm or worm bin around, so they, the worms, can break down your leftovers for you. You can either buy the worm bin and worms, or build your own and grab some worms from your garden and put them in there. A simple Google search on vermicompost should do the trick.
Stop breaking your back with that compost pile and let Mother Nature do all of the work for you. She has already put everything in place that you will need to create compost with very little effort.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book ”Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person” and the administrator for the largest vegetable gardening group on Facebook. Mike can be reached via his website AveragePersonGardening.com.