Friday, March 12, 2010

Earth-Friendly Friday

Compost made EZ

Why fill up the landfills and then have to go buy garden soil--when you can use your leftover table scraps and grass clippings to make your own soil.

"Gardeners know the best dirt", at least that's what people say, but I'd say "Gardeners soil themselves".

I hate to call rich organic materials mere "dirt". It sounds so much better as "soil". And, if you want to make some of your own, all you need is some garbage or leftover fruit and vegetable trimmings. Don't use meat or dairy products - they attract rodents. All living things will decompose and to help it along its way to becoming that rick, dark, crumbly mixture of organic material gardeners are always searching for, you simply need to mix one to two parts carbon-rich materials ("browns") or fall leaves with ("greens") grass clippings or left over fruit and vegetables.

You can start by keeping a jar by the sink, with a nice lid to keep the "aroma" inside the jar. Toss your coffee grinds, peels and other "waste" into the jar. When the jar is full take it outside to a bin and dump the organic material inside. If you can turn the materials, with a pitchfork, that will help accelerate the process. And keep the mixture damp, by simply adding a little water - think of it as "watering your garden" in process.

It takes a while for the materials to turn into soil but it's worth it. You'll be creating great garden material and saving the planet at the same time.

And, if you're looking for someplace to put all that wonderful, rich, soil - check out ECOwomen.net to see how to B.Y.O.B. Build-Your-Own-Bed, your own Garden Bed.

4 comments:

Bish Denham said...

We bury our produce left-overs in the garden. Dig a hole, chop it up a bit with the shovel, cover it up. It decomposes very rapidly. The most I've ever "uncovered" when planting was a stray egg shell or two.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I've done both--piled our scraps and buried. It's not very warm here, though, so compost takes longer.

Kim Kasch said...

Bish: I love that idea - an even more direct approach.

I think I'll have to try it. I'll let you know what results I get.

Lily Robinson said...

Between the horses, the goats and the chickens, we have lots of nutrient-rich compost.

Beware: If someone offers you horse manure for your flower beds, make sure it is composted. Otherwise, you'll be weeding 'til the cows come home! Horses consume weed seeds when they graze. The seeds in the manure are still viable, unless it is composted.

Falls leaves are great for a garden, but don't till them in right before planting. The process of decomposition will starve the new plants of nitrogen (or something important.)