Gardeners Love Their Compost

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For the keen gardener the kitchen and the garden go hand in hand. This is not only because a vegetable garden provides materials for the cook. It is because feeding back composting materials from the kitchen provides nourishment for the garden, whether it is growing vegetables or flowers.

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Waste and left over vegetables should be collected. What we don’t eat can provide food for our plants. The organic cycle is kept turning as vegetables are grown, then spare pieces composted and fed to build up the next harvest of plants. It doesn’t even matter greatly whether the scraps are raw or cooked, although the raw pieces will have more nourishing content. Boiled vegetables will have lost some of their valuable natural chemicals into the water, but still they should be stirred into the composting mix.

Composting methods need to be chosen to suit the climate. In moderate temperatures a simple compost heap or an open top compost bin can be quite adequate In very hot dry conditions it may be helpful to use an composting container to keep in some moisture. The natural chemical reactions that change the plant material into compost generate heat. Where outside temperatures tend to be quite low an enclosed compost bin might help retain some of this heat.

Amazon ImageIs it a priority for you to keep your yard ultra-tidy? If so you might not want a rough looking compost heap at the bottom of the garden area, nor even an open topped bin. There are, however, many commercially available composters. While they may not actually look pretty they are at least tidy.

Don’t forget that during composting the mixture should be stirred periodically. You might not mind doing that by hand. With an open heap you can simply turn it over with a garden fork. Purpose-made composters can be bought which include tumbling and mixing mechanisms. [Click on graphic above right to see example on]

The length of time that it takes to turn plant material into compost varies according to the conditions. It also is affected by the particular mix of material that you stir together. Woody material, for example, takes longer to break down. This can be speeded up by chopping it up small or, even better, passing it through a shredder.

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Stainless Steel Compost Bin
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Once you have installed some kind of collection container in your kitchen (see example to the left) there are two further things to be done there. Firstly you must remember to put your bits and pieces of vegetable material and eggshells into it. Secondly you must empty it regularly into the outdoors composter. In wet and wintry weather there will be a temptation simply to throw it into the general trash rather than go outdoors to the composter. Some routine and a good helping of determination is called for.

Decide how you’re going to organise your composting, then put it into practice. This way you’ll have the satisfaction of turning what you would normally throw away into something that your plants will love.

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