There are many gardeners who have problems with their soil. One of easiest and inexpensive ways to improve your soil quality is through composting.
Although there are many methods to composting, they all do the same thing: break down your rubbish and the end result is a nutrient-rich soil that will hold water, allows for airflow, controls erosion, and creates a home for the bacteria that protects plants against disease, captures airborne nitrogen, lures soil-enriching earthworms. In addition to the benefits to the soil, composting cuts down on greenhouse gases as well as naturally discards certain organic materials that would otherwise be thrown into a trash can.
When I first started my compost pile I added a layer of hay and then began layering my post pile with brown and green materials.
Brown – Carbon Rich Materials
- Livestock manure (horse, cow, sheep, chicken)
- Lawn clippings and dried leaves, pine needles
- Shredded newspaper
- Wood chips and small twigs
Green – Nitrogen Rich Material
- Crop residue
- Culled vegetables
- Used kitchen scraps – peels, cores, leftover cooked vegetables (as long as there is no salt or butter on them), produce past it’s prime.
- Grass clippings (free of pesticide)
- Cuttings from plants, dead headed flowers, pulled weeds
- Coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves, tea bags
The best compost combines 2 to 3 parts carbon-rich materials, with 1 part nitrogen-rich materials. Experts have said to let the compost pile sit for two weeks before using. Most gardeners keep two piles, one started about 4-6 months after the first. This way, they can use the compost from the first pile as the other is decomposing.
The following infographic is a wonderful illustration that represents what to add and not to add to your compost pile.
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Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.