Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Forgotten Soil: Start Compost Anytime

Soil is, perhaps, one of the one of the most overlooked features of any garden, flower or vegetable. Yet, soil is crucial to a good looking, healthy, and bountiful garden.

Compost is perhaps the best natural recycling effort anyone can undertake to improve the soil. We live with a lot of garbage from the kitchen and various yard wastes, all of which can be successful used with little effort. For the most, it is free or relatively very inexpensive.

Grass clippings and leaves can be used along with many kitchen scraps excepts for meat, bones, dairy products and raw eggs. There are methods to speed up the decomposition to a few eeks or there are ways to let it work more slowly over several months, including the cold winters.

There are advantages to using mature compost. Compost helps encourage many of unseen micro-organism which help to easily provide necessary nutrient rich food to plants as well as oxygen to plant roots. Compost also helps the soil retain moisture and helps with drainage problems.

Compost acts differently than synthetic or chemical fertilizers. Artificial fertilizers are a quick fix and have little or no long term benefits for either the soil of the plants. Besides, chemical fertilizers are petroleum based and usually fairly expensive.

There are many resources available for home gardeners. One good source are local agricultural extension offices which provide free classes and often free compost bins. Another good source in northwestern Pennsylvania is the Master Gardeners Club in Meadville, Crawford County. They provide a wealth of information and can be contacted through the Crawford County Extension Office. Online there are many additional sources of information.

Compost bins can be rather unsightly but they can be located in out of the way areas of the garden. Or planting can be used around the compost heap bin. And another advantage to compost is one can make compost tea for even better healthier and more abundant vegetables and flowers.

Compost can also help reduce household expenses since less garbage needs to be hauled away to landfills and garbage bags are also not cheap. Compost, once properly done, will not attract flies or rodents, nor should there be foul odors.

It is never too late to start the compost heap and start saving money and creating a healthy soil environment.

A weather note: It has been a bad weather week here in northwestern Pennsylvania with upwards of five inches or more of rain, serious flooding and some really cool temperatures for the opening of July. Compost won't solve those problems but composted plants are healthier and a soil with compost added into it has a better discharge of excess water will retaining it for drier conditions which hopefully come next real soon.

Blogs I am following: On Your Way to the Top and Urban Veggie Garden. Check them out and thanks for stopping.

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