Monday, July 12, 2010

When Life Deals You Garbage, Then You Make Compost

There is an aged old saying that reads, “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” Meaning to me that if you are dealt a bad situation, you and only you can make it better. Makes sense right?

Home vegetable gardening is not all that different. It has its ups and downs. Some plants do better, some need work and then there are those pesky weeds. But did you know that you can make vegetable gardening life a lot easier on yourself with help from your household garbage?

Everyone wants their trash to just go away, and everyone has the power to make that happen, for the most part anyway. I will get to more on that in a moment. The bulk of the trash that you and your family produce weekly can actually be used for your home vegetable garden in the form of compost.

Compost is the result of organic material breaking with the end result being called humus. The humus then can be mixed in with your soil where you grow your vegetables creating a more nutrient rich and friable base for your plants.

So what, in your arsenal of trash, qualifies to be composted? Anything organic basically. All of your food leftovers (with the exception of meat and chicken bones), coffee grinds, the filter, tea bags, newspaper, junk mail, cardboard boxes, your grass and bush clippings, leaves, twigs, livestock manure and the list goes on and on.

Items that you should avoid composting…plastics, glass, aluminum cans and foil, pet and human waste. We don’t want to turn your yard into the township dump site.

There are a number of ways you can compost. Which one you choose will depend on how much room you have and what fits your lifestyle. Here is what I do.

For all of my food scraps, I dig a hole in my garden about 24 inches deep and bury the food scraps. I then cover with the dirt and let the ecosystem do the rest. Bacteria and other microbes as well as worms will take care of it and in turn leave me great compost for my plants to use. I do this because rotting food can attract undesirables such as rodents and pests. So burying it deep enough helps eliminate this problem.

For the remaining items, I mix them right into the soil with a garden tiller and yard shredder. The items break down faster. Some people keep a compost pile and then when the material is done breaking down, then they add it to the soil. Both ways works fine, which one you choose is up to you.

The important thing to remember here is that you can take most of your household trash and use it towards building better soil for your plants which will give you better tasting veggies.

About the Author
Michael C. Podlesny is the owner and a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club.

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