Are you thinking about building a compost pile or investing in a compost tumbler for your garden? Using garden compost in your garden is a game changer. The great thing is that you aren’t limited and you truly have so many options. Whether your garden is huge or small you can always benefit from composting.
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Benefits of Using Compost in a Garden
There is a lot of hope around compositing for its environmental benefits and the truth is
composting is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Here are a few benefits of
composting for your garden that can make a big difference in the world we live in today.
Compost Improves Soil Quality
Garden compost enriches the soil by adding organic materials, nutrients, and beneficial microorganisms. Compost can improve soil structure, water retention, and aeration, creating an ideal environment for plant growth. By composting your kitchen scraps you can help produce rich soil that will help provide your family with quality produce and eliminates the risk of soil depletion. Adding a thick layer of compost and tilling it in every season can keep the soil healthy even after growing high-demand plants like tomatoes and potatoes in your garden.
Composting for your Garden Reduces Waste in the Landfill
Many people do not realize just how much food waste goes to landfills each day. Food waste is a big problem that can often be helped with things like composting and even raising backyard chickens. Composting your food scraps along with other compostable materials like paper and even grass clippings is a great way to lower your overall carbon footprint.
Help Reduce Chemicals in and Around Your Home
We are living in an over-chemicalized world. There seem to be chemicals everywhere and these chemicals can be harmful to your health.
Some things can go right to your garden without composting, like banana peels. But even banana peels are much better for your garden and you after they have been composted. Composting breaks down chemicals that your peels and scraps have been treated with. By composting you help to reduce chemical compounds to their raw state where they are much better for you and less damaging to the environment. This process helps the entire planet not just your own home garden. Starting with organic foods, to begin, with will also help with this.
Garden Compost Provides Nutrient-Rich Fertilizer
Compost is a natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer that slowly releases essential elements, such as
nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, promoting healthy plant growth without the risk of nutrient runoff or chemical imbalances. Buying a balanced fertilizer can be very expensive but
composting for your garden is a great way to provide your garden with quality fertilizer for free
rather than buying it.
Save Money on Filling Raised Beds
If you’re adding raised beds to your garden odds are you are looking at the cost of the soil you
will need to fill that garden bed. One of the most economical options for filling your garden beds with a quality growing medium is to fill your raised beds with compost. If you have the materials available you can make a large hot compost pile and have enough soil to fill your garden beds in a matter of a few short weeks with much better soil quality than you will find in most big box stores selling soil. If you are in a rush you can also make a mixture of garden compost with organic store-bought soil to fill your raised beds.
Soil Water Retention
When you compost with plenty of quality organic matter it acts as a sponge, absorbing and retaining moisture in the soil. It helps prevent excessive water runoff, reduces the need for frequent irrigation, and ensures that plants have access to water during dry periods. If you live in an area with sandy soil or soil high in clay you can mix some garden compost into the soil to improve drainage and moisture retention This will help to keep your soil from drying out and killing off your plants in the heat of summer.
Suppress Weeds in the Garden
A layer of rich compost applied as a mulch can help suppress weed growth. The compost in the garden acts as a barrier, preventing weed seeds from germinating and competing with your plants for resources. If you have compost that is not entirely broken down and contains a large amount of organic matter like wood shavings, small twigs, grass clippings, and leaves that are only partially composted you can use that compost to create a thick weed barrier. It will continue to compost down over the growing season, then just till it into your soil before your next planting.
Healthier Plants Overall
We all know that compost makes a great fertilizer to keep our plants healthy but it has so many more great benefits for our plants than as a simple fertilizer. When you compost for your garden you are providing your garden with essential bacteria that help to break down the contents of the soil making the nutrients more readily available to your plants. You can add all of the fertilizer you want but if you are not providing your garden with the microorganisms and insects that help to improve the garden soil and make it useable for your plants you will not get much results. Compost can lead to healthy soil, healthy plants, and a healthy vegetable garden with very little work on your end.
How to Garden with Compost
When it comes to getting started with compost for the garden remember you can always start small. You can literally make your own compost from things around your home. This simple compost bin for the kitchen counter is a great way to start. You can find it online here. This compost pail comes with a charcoal filter in the lid to cut back on any odor.
What Can You Compost
You will be surprised by what you can add to your compost bin. Here are a few things that you will want to add to your compost pail:
- organic waste
- fruit and vegetable peels and scraps
- coffee grounds
- carbon-rich materials such as grass clippings, dry leaves, yard waste
- paper towels
- wood chips
If you have small pets/animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, or chickens you can add their pen waste like straw, shavings, and poop to your compost.
What Should You Not Compost
The main things that you will want to avoid adding to your compost is meat scraps, fatty, and greasy foods, and bones. Other than that there are lot of things that get the green light.
Backyard Compost Bin
Once you’ve filled your kitchen compost pail you will need to move the compost to the outdoors. There are a few different options for how to build your garden compost because naturally, it does need time. You can get a compost tumbler for your yard and eventually work up to a large hot compost pile that can help feed your entire garden. This one pictured is Made in the USA can be found online here.
Each time you add your kitchen scraps and waste to the tumbler just give it a spin to incorporate the contents inside. During the composting process, these contents will break down over time into an amazing nutrient-dense compost for the garden. It isn’t pretty but it is amazing. If you live in a warm climate your compost should break down rather quickly since the high temperatures speed up the compost process.
There is no perfect garden composter. Just get the one that works best for you, your garden, and your space. You can buy or make a composter. If you have the space, you can just build a big pile without spending a dime.
Many of the things listed above can be found at your local garden center or nursery. A few of the items listed above can actually also be found online. Here are a few options for ready-made compost tumblers and bins online:
Make composting work for you and your garden and you will wonder why you waited so long.
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