5 Compost Tips to Improve Your Organic Soil
If your yard has sandy, stony, or hard soil, you know how difficult it is to grow a healthy garden. Fortunately, you can improve the soil quality by composting. Here are five compost tips that should help keep you on track.
Crete a Healthy Environment for Plants and Vegetables
The first compost tip is to provide the best environment for microorganisms.
The process by which compost is made can take weeks or months. It depends on the environment you create for decomposition to take place. That’s why this compost tip is important to understand.
Ideal compost balances the amount of carbon, nitrogen, water, and oxygen in it. Fibrous plants like dry leaves are filled with carbon. Carbon feeds the microorganisms in the soil. Grass clippings are a great source of nitrogen. Nitrogen helps the microorganisms grow and multiply. Water and oxygen are also key, as they stimulate the microorganisms that prevent pathogens from harming plants.
Compost Tips to Help Speed Up the Composting Process
Help speed up the decomposition process by heating the pile.
Using a hot compost starter is an easy way to increase the speed of the composting process. Microorganisms like heat and work in different temperature ranges. The bacteria that handle most of the decomposition work do best in 60 to 70 degrees. To kill harmful pathogens, the pile should be as hot as 140 to 160 degrees. Some people use commercial activators to increase the temperature, but rotted manure or alfalfa meal work just as well.
Did you know that turning the compost is optional?
Microorganisms need oxygen, so it’s important that they receive enough to survive. Some gardeners might disagree with this compost tip, but turning the compost is optional. If you don’t keep the pile too wet, the compost will ventilate itself. If you’re a firm believer in turning the compost, do so every 10 to 14 days. If you want to make batches or compost continuously, invest in a tumbling bin or a plastic stationary bin.
Compost Tips for More Efficient Gardening
This compost tip will help you avoid labor intensive composting.
Instead of alternating high-nitrogen materials with those high in carbon, keep them separated. Apply them in layers when you’re in the garden bed itself. Another alternative is to try vermicomposting. Earthworms are used to process manures, food waste, and even paper products. This type of composting can be done indoors during the winter months if you aren’t squeamish. Honestly. It’s not that messy!
Avoid a lack of moisture or too much of it
If you turn your compost but don’t smell the rich forest-like fragrance coming from the heap, it means something is wrong. It’s usually a lack of moisture. New compost needs as much water as an actively growing plant. Use a soaker hose to ensure a new pile has enough water to support decomposition. You might also consider using the new raised garden and composter hybrids. Excess moisture will make the compost smell like rotted fruit and attract flies. Make sure you achieve the right moisture level for your pile.
Now that you know how to create healthier soil, use these compost tips in your own garden.