Compost is an all-natural fertilizer that you can make using your organic household waste. Highly nutritious for your plants, it can lead to bigger yields and better taste. Making your own compost has the added benefit of reducing the volume of your household waste as well, since most organic waste can be transformed into this great soil conditioner. Let’s look at three ways in growing organic vegetables using compost.
What types of household waste can go into a compost bin/pile?
You can compost rinds, cores and leftover pieces of fruits and vegetables, no matter what their condition. This means that even if they are rotten and moldy, you can still throw them in the compost bin. A great way to use those bits and bobs at the bottom of the veggie crisper. Also make sure that you add in the compost bin ground coffee and all the teabags and coffee filters that you use. Plants love coffee! They also love egg shells, so add them in too. Crush them first to help them break down quicker.
Keep in mind that even though organic, meat, fish and dairy waste should never be added into your compost bin. The same goes for cooking oils and grease. These foods cause nutrient imbalance in the soil plus rotting flesh smells really bad and it will attract all sorts of pests.
What are the benefits of using compost?
The greatest benefit of using compost in your garden is the improvement of the soil structure. This means that the soil, when mixed with compost, will have such a structure that allows air and water to move freely, allowing the nutrients to circulate and reach all your plants. A soil with compost is soft enough for young roots to penetrate it and hard enough to prevent nutrients from getting washed away. Additionally, compost greatly increases the nutrients that can be found in the soil.
By using compost you can grow your own vegetables organically, without the use of chemical fertilizers. Compost adds to the soil nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus and micronutrients such as iron, zinc and copper. It also guarantees that your soil will be alive. Even though it might sound unappealing, a soil full of beneficial bacteria and fungi and also earthworms and beetles -a living soil- can offer you a rich yield. Plus, plants that grow in compost tend to have less diseases and grow tall and healthy, offering tasty produce.
I am convinced. How can I compost?
All you need is your organic waste and a place to put it, in order for the composting process to start. You also need a bit of patience, but it is all worth it! There are different options of composting containers. You can go for a compost bin or a compost tumbler. The compost tumbler has the advantage of spinning, which means that you do not need to use forks and shovels to mix the compost around to aerate. They can be quite expensive though. Another solution, cheaper but equally efficient, is to get a lightweight roll mix composter. No matter which container you choose, your plants will be thanking you for this natural soil conditioner.