A Beginner’s Guide to Composting
Compost piles just seem to bring out the best in us. They allow us to be virtuous by keeping waste out of landfills, and thrifty because we can stop purchasing expensive commercial fertilizers. Even though these are very good reasons indeed, the very best reason is simple: composting provides a free, and constant source of the best possible nutrient rich fertilizer for all your home gardening projects.
Location, Location, Location
Just as location is important in real estate, the location of your compost pile is also of prime concern. Often the best location is near where you will use it – the garden. If you live on a large plot of land, you needn't even worry with a container, just a pile will be fine.
However, if neighbors are close by, you may want to use a composter of some type. Many types of commercial composters are available, but any large trash can with a lid works perfectly just by cutting out the bottom. (See, here is another virtuous recycling endeavor!)
Now that you have a site for your pile, or a container in place, it is time to feed the pile.
• DO put these items into compost: weeds, leaves, garden waste, shredded newspaper, straw, grass clippings, kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, egg shells, shrimp peels and seafood shells, tea and coffee grounds.
• Do NOT put these items into compost: toxic items or poisonous plants, meat, bones, cat litter, pet waste, processed foods or dairy products.
Now You Wait...
Everyone develops their own ritual for composting, but no matter how you choose to compost, you will be successful if you just give it time. Keep feeding the top and in a few months you will have oodles of rich compost to feed your garden.
Ready, Set, Go...
Although you can and should use it to feed your gardens when the compost is officially finished, it has a very long shelf life. It waits for you, no matter how long you let it languish in the pile or can.
However, once you have become a composter, you will find endless ways to use it. So make it your daily ritual to lovingly feed your compost pile and it will love you back with a never ending supply of gardener's black gold.
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