Gardeners commonly agree on one thing: rich, dark compost is almost magical in enhancing and multiplying the nutrients in your soil. When your plants are healthier, they are more likely to fend off common plant diseases that might destroy plants that are more nutrient-starved. Some gardeners may follow specific composting instructions, but you can still cultivate a good batch of compost simply by relaxing the rules.
Use Raw Materials
Good gardeners may often put fruit and vegetable scraps into a kitchen compost container, and then empty these raw materials into a larger bin for more active composting. Leaves, chemical-free grass clipping, small cardboard pieces (yes, that’s true!) and hay may also make great ingredients for your compost. Tossing in a few helpings of animal manure from different animals – like horses, cattle, goats, rabbits, and chickens – will help your compost, too. Avoid wood chips, sawdust, and sugar-loaded foods, as well as manure from dogs and cats.
Start Your Pile
Some professional gardeners may prefer commercial compost bins, but you can get great results at home with a homemade circular compost pile! Make your pile 3-4 feet in diameter, and contain it with welded wire or garden fencing. Spread a 4-inch layer of plant material that’s coarse on the bottom. Add dead plants, vegetable and fruit scraps, chopped up leaves, and clippings from your grass. Keep your pile moist by spraying it with water, but don’t get it too soggy! A moist, nicely layered pile, that is ideally about 3 feet in height as well as width, should start heating up and decomposing in a few days. Once your pile develops that earthy perfume, you’ve should have the perfect balance of moisture and dry materials.
Turning Your Compost
As your materials break down, they will shrink in volume, which allows beneficial air to mix in and speed up the process. If you turn your compost with a sturdy fork, and add water as needed, your compost will continue to work wonders. Well mixed-in materials break down into smaller pieces more quickly, which allow you to achieve that rich, dark brown compost faster than you might think. Once your compost is ripe and ready for the garden, keep your pile covered so rain doesn’t drain out the nutrients. As mentioned before, too much water will only inhibit the composting process.
Composting is a great way to enhance your garden, and the nutrients that come from it will only make your garden lovelier! Your nutrient-rich plants will stand the test of time as they flourish and grow, and your garden may even last longer into the year! The best way to be sure your compost works well is to start it early in the year, so that you can get the results you want as early as possible. Talk to a landscaper in Las Vegas for more information on composting, and what types of plants are best for your garden and climate. Get that beautiful garden you want, with nutrient-rich plants.
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