Friday, May 8, 2009

Composting- A recipe for sucess

Composting is easy and inexpensive...and yields beautiful gardens! This natural product enriches soil quality, promotes healthy plant growth, and reduces a garden's need for water. Adding compost to soil helps:
-Replenish and store organic nutrients
-Reduce erosion and water run-off.
-Loosen clay soils for better root development.
-Retain moisture in sandy soils.
-Support beneficial soil organisms.

How to compost for better blooms.
A well-maintained compost pile will create compost from yard debris in as little as 6-8 weeks. The preparation and tending of the pile determines the speed and success of the finished product.

Tips to compost success
1. Chop the debris. 
A finer debris is chipped, the better the access for tiny organisms to do their work. A successful blend of one part brown debris to one part green helps to stabilize the pile and control odors.
Green=Nitrogen-rich materials(grass, green leaves, fresh-cut flowers, stems)
Brown=Carbon-rich materials(sticks,branches,dried leaves,straw,wood shavings)

2. Turn the pile.
Aerating the pile weekly allows the tiny ecosystem and organisms to breathe. If not aerated, the pile becomes anaerobic: a much colder, slower process, and common cause of foul odors.

3. Maintain the moisture.
Keep the pile moist by watering...but not too much. Strive for the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. If the pile is too wet, add dry leaves or wood shavings.

4.  Finish the compost.
Finished compost will appear dark and crumbly, smell earthy, an no longer generate heat. Use chicken wire or mesh to screen off larger items and allow the finish compost time to "mature"-usually several weeks-before spreading compost over soil as mulch.

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