Composting: How-To and Why
compost complete the cycle
Feed the soil: feed the plants. This an organic gardener knows is one of the ways to ensure a healthy, vital and productive garden.
The organic or natural gardener does not tend the plants but takes care of the soil. Follow this advice and you will find that whatever you choose to grow, be it herbs, flowers or vegetables you will produce plants that can withstand the onslaught of pests and disease.
Healthy soil means healthy plants.
How do you keep your soil healthy, well, one of the easiest ways is to add organic material to it on a regular basis. Now you can go out and buy compost, I recommend organic or you can purchase well rotted manure and if this is what you must do then that is fine.
When you are starting out to build a garden, you may have to buy compost. It is worth the money.
Another way to get great organic material for your garden is to compost those food scrapes, not bone or meat, but vegetables. You can add grass clippings to the mix and let that help. However, with grass clippings I suggest you leave the bulk of the clippings where they fall when you cut the lawn.
This will help your lawn.
Composting is an excellent way to recycle material that will benefit your garden but simply take up space in a landfill, especially when placed into a plastic bag which will take a very long time to breakdown.
A perfect mixture of material consists of ½ brown (carbon-based material) and ½ green (nitrogen-based) materials by weight.
You can build or buy a composter; the choice is up to you. I built a composter from a rubber garbage can for use on my balcony. The balcony was located right off the kitchen so this was very easy to use and my container garden was right on the balcony so putting the compost to work required very few steps.
The composter produced more than I needed for the containers and lugging it downstairs and around back was more steps than I needed to take.
Next time, if faced with a similar situation, I would place a worm composter in the kitchen for the balcony garden and a larger one in the backyard for that garden; thereby reducing the steps that I would need to take. Saving energy for other activities is a wise choice.
If you do not have room outside for a composter but still want to recycle to turn your kitchen waste into gold, well black gold, as compost is called, you can set up a worm composter in your kitchen. You can use the end product on your houseplants, containers plants or in the garden.
Composting is how you can complete the growing cycle. You put compost on your vegetable garden to help the plants grow; you harvest the plants for your meals and then put the scarps in the compost which you then put on your garden to help the plants grow.
This closed circuit approach reduces waste and produces healthy food for you and your family.
What can you compost? The following information provides you with a list of items that can go into your compost pile.
From Your Garden:
Leaves (chopped - to speed their breakdown)
Grass (not wet)
Plants & Weeds (without ripe seeds)
Old potting soil
Soft plant stems
From Your Kitchen.
Coffee grounds and filters
Crushed egg shells
The following items should not be placed into the compost:
Dairy products including cheese
Meat, fish (including sauces) and bones
Fats and oils
Remember that a successful gardener builds soil and compost enables you to do that work.
How To Compost
- Backyard Magic - The Composting Handbook
We invite you to explore the environmentally-friendly world of composting, by browsing through "Backyard Magic". This is one in a series of environmental education publications produced by the New Brunswick Department of Environment.
- Composting Guide
Complete Guide to Composting - How to!