June 04, 2012
One of the best things you can do for your garden is to add compost. Compost adds vital nutrients to the soil and encourages beneficial bacteria and fungi. All of these help plants grow and produce. Compost also introduces organic matter to the soil. Adding organic matter helps improve drainage and texture, too. Composting is also a great way to recycle kitchen scraps and yard waste.
Making your own compost is easy and cheap, but it’s not a very quick process. Proper decomposition usually takes several months, and processing can vary depending on the materials added. The most common compost ingredients are yard waste, kitchen scraps, shredded leaves, and barnyard manure. Just be careful not to use yard waste that has been treated with herbicide. Meat and dairy products are also not recommended for composting as they can smell and attract scavengers.
You can purchase a ready-made compost container or, if you are a do-it-yourself sort, you can make your own. You don’t even have to use a container if you don’t want to, simply layer your materials right on the ground. Keeping your compost moist helps encourage the beneficial bacteria (and earthworms) that helps the decomposition process along. Turning the pile regularly helps distribute moisture and heat evenly, which speeds up decomposition.
Once your compost is finished, you can spread it around plants or work it into the top layer of soil. Adding compost to clay-based soil helps to improve drainage. Compost benefits sandy soil, too, by aiding in moisture and nutrient retention. Composting is a great way to give your plants a boost. You can find more information at MCPL in the Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture Collection located under the DIY and Hobbies section of the research databases.
Lee's Summit Branch