Just like people gardens need nutrients to grow and flourish. Incorporating garden compost into your garden allows you to feed your plants and vegetables and improve overall soil quality.
You can obtain ready prepared bags of garden compost from most garden nurseries or garden supply stores. Many garden supply companies and gardening websites offer an online service and will deliver. It is important that you choose the right garden compost for your soil and particular needs. Some plants and garden shrubs such as rhododendrons and azaleas require special ericaceous compost to make the soil more acid. While other garden compost is suitable for general use for vegetable and flower gardening.
The main advantage of using compost on your garden is to improve the soil structure. Good garden soil needs to be loose and be able to hold water but with adequate drainage. Clay soil can be very heavy, so adding garden compost will improve the structure and drainage. For soils that are sandy, garden compost will absorb water and improve the water-holding capacity of the soil.
As well as improving the structure and water retaining properties of soil, the decomposing compost will gradually release nutrients vital for healthy plant growth. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient in plant growth which can be obtained from garden compost. The use of adding manure as well as compost will ensure a good supply of nitrogen if growing highly productive crops.
For those who do not want to buy their garden compost, making your own compost in your garden has several advantages. Firstly, it allows the gardener to recycle garden wastes. This means less waste to have to dispose of. Secondly, you will know what has gone into your garden compost. So if you want to be an organic gardener, you will have control over what has gone into your compost.
When deciding on your home garden compost bin it is best to design it into your garden. Making a home compost can be made from ready made plastic drums which turn, to wooden enclosures made yourself or from kits ready to assemble. Having some sort of structure for your compost will save space and hasten decomposition. If you find that the thought of your compost bin may spoil the look of the garden, then garden screens can be useful to hide it from view.
When you have to dispose of garden waste those garden jobs can become harder. But with your own garden compost patch or bin, garden clearance becomes a whole lot easier. Most organic materials will decompose, but not all garden wastes should go into your home compost. Leaves, grass cuttings, non-woody plant trimmings can all be composted. If putting grass cuttings into your compost, it is advisable to mix with other garden waste to keep it aerated. Branches, logs or twigs greater than 1/4 inch thick should be put through a garden mulcher or shredder first, as they will not decompose fast enough.
Kitchen waste is a valuable addition to your compost. Wastes such as vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and egg shells make good compost. Some organic materials should not be added to your compost as they could create a health hazard. Pet waste should not be added nor should meat, bones or fat. Whole eggs and dairy products should also not be added as they attract rodents. Any plant that is diseased should be avoided in your compost. This is because although the temperature in the center of your compost may reach 140 degrees and kill off many diseases, you can not be sure that your compost has been sufficiently mixed to the center to reach this temperature. Using a garden incinerator to dispose of diseased plants will ensure the spread of disease is contained.
Once you begin to fill your compost bin, decomposition can take from six months to two years. The process can be sped up by mixing dry and wet materials and chopping or shredding waste as small as possible. The stage of decomposition will vary from top to bottom as you continually add more waste. The more finished compost will be found at the bottom of your bin and should be removed first.
The best system of composting is to have two bins on the go, one to add to and one for maturing. Remember that the site of your compost is important as you want it near enough to your area where it is to be used but not too close to your neighbors to be a nuisance. Once having set up your garden compost your garden will benefit from good quality garden compost to produce better plants, flowers or vegetables.
Paul H Jenkins, author, loves gardens: GardeningForNovices.blogspot.com