Composting, an essential part of Organic Gardening
Composting, as we all know is quite possibly one of the best things that we can do to increase fertility in our garden. But the fact remains that only a very few of us ever bother to do it. There are a number of detraction's but at the top of the list there are three main reasons that share a commonality with those that I have surveyed. It is unsightly, it is odoriferous and it takes too much time. But none of these reasons should deter you from beginning your own compost pile
In addition to it's soil building capabilities the benefit of composting to the environment is unquestionably a superior way for dealing with organic waste than allowing it to rot away in a landfill.
The traditional method has been to build a three sided framework with cinder blocks or wood that will help keep organic wastes in place. The open front allows for easy access for adding additional material and turning the pile. It is relatively inexpensive and has served well over the years but unless you have a barn or shed to hide it behind, it does nothing for your property’s aesthetics. In recent years there have been a variety of plastic bins and barrels that have come on the market that are considerably more visually appealing than a pile but they are far from inexpensive. Unless you are able to purchase one locally the cost of shipping can be exorbitant! Best option? Build your own from scrap lumber.
The smell of a pile gone bad is not something that any of us would say is pleasant. For the process to work correctly there must be a proper ratio of
carbon to nitrogen
based inputs, adequate moisture levels must be maintained and the pile needs to be turned often to ensure it doesn’t turn anaerobic and start to stink. While a pile that is maintained correctly should not stink up a neighborhood, the fact remains that very few piles are maintained correctly. What results is a big stinky mess that is likely to annoy your spouse and the neighbors.
Time is also a consideration. It takes months for a pile to sufficiently breakdown to a form that is ready for amending your garden. During this process there must be at least one additional pile or plastic barrel, because it will never be ready if you are constantly adding raw organic material.
All these factors do nothing to help advance the cause nor do they help encourage newcomers to become involved. This has been a quandary for me for years. How can you promote composting when there are so many factors that are a turn off the general public?
The biggest problem facing organic gardeners is getting the correct carbon to nitrogen ratio. It is difficult to understand and comply with.
Rarely do we generate waste in the needed ratios so that they can be mixed and added to the pile. So what do you do with all those kitchen scraps in the meanwhile? You can easily see how the temptation to throw it all on the pile sabotages the process.
What if you did not have to worry about how much leaves or grass clippings you needed to mix with kitchen scraps?
As long as we are fantasizing, what if you could just use your kitchen scraps and did not have to worry about adding anything else? What if you did not need to build a structure or have to buy an expensive tumbler? What if there were no smell? What if it only took a few weeks for it all to break down so it could be added to your garden? What if we could use all the stuff we could not otherwise use? Things like meat scraps, citrus peels and oils or grease? What if we woke up and found out that it was not a fantasy? Well, it is a reality!
What might come as a surprise to you is that this is nothing new. It has been around for long, long time! But why haven’t I heard of it, you ask? The answer is simple, the profit motive! Since this process is naturally occurring it can not be patented, there is no incentive for a corporate conglomerate to advertise it or promote it.
Well I am not going to leave you hanging, I will give you a link to the place where you can get it for yourself. But first I will remind you that this information is not going to do you any good unless you put it into practice. All I ask from you is a commitment to do this for yourself and use it for your own garden. flower beds or lawn first. Then after you see how effective and cheap it is to make your own quality compost from the waste you would normally throw away I want you to share it with all your gardening buddies. Just think how much of an impact this will have on not just your garden but on our environment as the word spreads by word of mouth. Are you ready to click on the
Where can I buy compost?
The best place to look for it is your local garden center or nursery. The availability of tends to be regional for two reason. The first reason is quantity. There are not a lot of commercial bagging operations. It is for this reason that you are not likely to find compost in a typical retail store, there just is not enough made to supply thousand of stores across the country. The second reason is demand. Composting is still in it’s infancy, it is not exactly a main stream item. Outside of the organic gardening community and hardcore gardeners there is not that much of a demand. There are more and more smaller composting operations that are beginning to crop up around the country but they tend to be very regional. It is a very heavy commodity and with the ever increasing cost of diesel fuel makes shipping long distances impractical. Different regions of the country will have different types. In some areas, it is made of waste from mushroom farms. Other regions of the country it is made from chicken manure left over from poultry operations. In the Southern region of the country where I currently live cotton burr (gin trash) is the common type to be found at garden centers. It is important to know what it is made from. Some products are made from sludge from waste water systems. While this may at first think this is a great idea, stop and think about everything that gets poured down the drain, flushed down the toilet and washed into the gutters. Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, anti-freeze and poisons of all kinds make their way into sewer system and consequently the are in the compost.
I have put together a list of some companies that sell it below. It is by no means to represent a complete listing, but all of the companies have met the standards of quality and testing set forth by the US Composting Council. Some of these companies do not sell to the general public but they will provide a list of retailers that carry their product. I add to the list as I find new suppliers. By all means, if you are affiliated with a company you can send the information to me and I will be happy to post it for you.
ccpeat.com www.erthproducts.com http://www.soilmender.com/http://www.humalfa.com/http://www.a1organics.com/http://www.missouriorganic.org/http://www.stlcompost.com/
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