Perhaps you are thinking of starting a new garden this coming spring? Seed catalogs are starting to arrive already and how exciting it can be, dreaming of those home grown red tomatoes, peppers and zucchini? But before you order those seeds and way before you put them into the ground your soil is going to need some help! Help?
Talk to any seasoned gardener and they will tell you the most important thing you can do to have a successful garden is to take good care of your soil. How do you do that? Cover crops and composting are the two best ways to prepare your soil for the next seasons planting. Turning homemade compost into your garden soil throughout this fall/winter will create the perfect environment for your plants come spring time. Over planting, weather, and even excessive weeds can draw the needed nutrients out of the soil hindering your garden efforts.
Key to organic gardening, compost, a mixture of decayed plants and other matter, is used for enriching the soil. By enriching the soil you are giving the plants an opportunity for success. Each garden plant pulls from the soil what it needs to grow its best.
Carbon and Nitrogen, by products of composting, are needed by the plant in different levels to grow. The best part about composting? It’s free, the only cost being a little of your time.
What can you compost? Pretty much anything. Coffee grinds, egg shells, old bread, vegetable scraps, grass clippings, etc. but avoid cheese, fats or meat from entering your compost. If not for the benefit of your garden or garden-to-be, studies show that home composting can save the local land fill of an average 700lbs. of waste a year per house hold. An average of 10-25% of waste that enters landfills could be compostable.
Everyone is capable of making compost. A very easy project that will repay you with a bounty of vegetables in your garden next year. For a great resource for all you need to know about composting visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website.