Compost: What is it?
Compost is the decompostition of any organic materials. Its that simple. Composts are humus, which resembles topsoil is dark in color, peat like, has a crumbly texture and earthy odor. This end product has no physical resemblence to the original waste from which compost is created. Good quality compost has no weed seeds or organisms that may be pathogenic to humans, animals or plants. There are many uses for composted materials.
There are many reasons to create compost heaps. Insect control, disease control, fertilizer or just to have a place to put food and yard waste.
How do you Compost:
There are many recipes for compost piles. These are a few essentials that are needed.
- Collect materials: Excellent materials for composting include garden waste, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, manure, newspapers, and sawdust. No animal scraps or oils. those will attract animals and slow decompostion. You can pile materials outside seperately or inside in a sealable 5 gallon pail. To control odors spinkle a bit of sawdust between layers.
- Keep it small: You will need to cut down or shred your materials so more af the surface area is exposed to the decomposing organisms.
- Different layers: You will need a space about 4′ wide on each side. You then begin to layer material in a ratio of 30 parts carbonaceous material(yellow, dry, plant, brown) to 1 part nitrogenous material(wet, green, or animal based- manure). Leaves, straw, paper and fresh grass clippings or manure.
- Compost starter: When layering materials include a few shovefuls of soil or finished compost. If you don’t have healthy soil or compost available a commercial compost starter will supply the microorganisms.
- Pile turning: You will use a garden fork to turn your pile every couple of days. If the pile seems dry add water. Your goal is to get the temperature to rise you want your compost pile to reach 160 degrees .
- Knowing: You will know when the compost pile is done when the temperature drops and you don’t recognise any of the original ingredients.
Composting for Insects and Disease Control:
You can add compost to your soil and deliver an organic control for a variety of dirt-dwelling pests. When you improve the framework, moisture holding capacity, and nutrient content of the soil, compost encourages healthy, balanced populations of soil organisms. Many of these organisms control plant contaminates by feeding on them, parasitizing them, or starving them for food and water. Sprays of tea made from mature compost act as a natural fungicides against early leaf blights, powdery mildew, and similar diseases by introducung competitive, beneficial microorganisms to infected plants. When compost is applied around plants as a thin layer of mulch,its benenficial microorganisms may benefit the lower sections of plants (when splashed up by rain) as well as the soil.
Recipe for Compost Tea:
If your plants have disease and are weakened, a nice hit of compost tea might be just the thing! To make compost tea place 1 gallon of well-aged compost in a 5 gallon bucket and fill with water. Stir well and set in a warm place for three days. Filter the mixture through a screen or cheesecloth and return the solids to the compost pile. Place the strained water in a small sprayer or can. go around pinching off diseased leaves before applying compost tea to the plant. For best results use this treatment in the evening when leaves are likely to remain damp for several hours. You may have to apply more then once. Check plants every couple of days and repeat applications.
We compost for different reasons. Some are personal. It could be, we want to leave the planet a better place. Organic gardening could be important to you and your family. Not wanting to poison the family pet. It is that simple. I know families that compost because it is a cheap effective way to get rid of household organic material and yard organic material. No bagging up leaves and grass clippings, using plastic or paper bags. Some believe it is the most effecient way to get rid of garden pests and plant diseases.
Whatever you believe you should have the correct tools and information to start off you compost pile.
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