Tuesday, May 18, 2010
On our vegetable gardening Facebook page, one of our members posted a great question and that was how they could compost without spending any, or very little, money. I gave it some thought and came to realize that how can anyone “spend” a lot of money on composting. To me, composting just by its name indicates free or near free.
With help from some of our vegetable gardening members on our Facebook page I put together a few ideas that could help you build your compost pile and invariably improve your soil conditions for very low cost.
Let’s start with the obvious choices and that is the organic material lying around your backyard. Do you or your neighbor mow the lawn and bag it up? Do you get leaves from trees in the autumn months? Did you or someone you know trim the hedges or cut the bushes down? If you can answer yes or maybe to any of these then you have everything you need for good compost. Simply take this material and put it in a pile in your yard, preferably towards the back of the yard away from your neighbor’s house. Periodically turn the pile over with a pitchfork to allow air in and move the freshly placed material toward the bottom and center. As “they” say, ‘wash, rinse, and repeat’.
When was the last time you had a dinner that you just couldn’t finish, but it wasn’t quite enough to save what was left for leftovers? If your answer is, “oh yeah, that happens to me a lot”, then you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to add compost to your garden soil. Using your trusty old pitchfork, dig a hole in your garden at least eighteen inches deep and put your leftovers in there. Fill the hole in with the dirt and you are done. The worms, bacteria and rest of the underlying ecosystem will feed on these leftovers and do all of the work for you. Again, “wash, rinse and repeat”.
Did you know that Starbucks, the coffee house chain, has a program called grinds for the ground? They take their entire allotment of used coffee grinds and put them in a bucket, free for the taking. If you have a Starbucks near you or pass one on the way home from work, stop in as often as you can and grab some. Coffee grounds make for great compost in your garden. Dump the coffee grinds in your soil and mix in with your pitchfork.
Do you or someone you know like to fish? Fish waste makes for great composting. I heard a story one time how Native Americans would put one fish carcass below each corn seed to help with its growth. They were definitely onto something because fish waste is great. Next time you go fishing or filet your fish, save what is left and bury it in your soil. The ecosystem will do the rest for you.
As you can see all of these methods are great ways to save some money with virtually free composting. If you are willing to put in a little elbow grease, you can create great compost for your garden soil all year round.
About the Author
Mike is the administrator for the largest vegetable gardening group on Facebook and the very popular Seeds of the Month Club. You can now join the Seeds of the Month Club risk-free.