Flamingo Crossing

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Compost happens -- how to make your own compost

compost happens
A happy garden is a healthy garden. This is only possible if the potting mix used in your garden contains all the nutrients and minerals that plants need in order to survive. This generally means making your own compost from kitchen scraps and organic plant matter from your garden rather than buying a pre-made mixture of compost at the big box store.

Fortunately for home gardeners, it is easy to make your own compost.

DIY -- Make your own compost

essential garden supplies Compost is an organic fertilizer created by mixing one part of green grass or green leaves to two parts of brown or dried leaves or dried grass mixed into the soil. The best way to create compost is in a compost bin. This can be a worm bin, an actual compost bin, or even a designated open compost pile that gets turned regularly with a pitchfork.

The fresh ingredients that make up the green part of the compost produce nitrogen while the dried part produces carbon. Carbon is the energy source that helpful soil microbes use to do their work on the soil while nitrogen acts as their protein source to help them produce nutrients that the plants will feed on in order to grow healthy. Compost can also heal your sick plants to help them recover from disease or infestation.

Normally compost should feel a bit wet. If you notice that it is too wet, you can add more brown parts. If it gets a bit dry then you can add a small amount of water or green parts (or both). There should be just the right balance of moisture to cultivate a good environment to produce compost filled with just the right amount of nutrients that your plants need in order to grow healthy.

Compost is ready when the mixture changes to something moist and dark brown. This generally takes a couple of months if the pile is being turned regularly.

Tip: Have two compost bins so there is always fresh compost ready to use.

What to do with things that cannot be composted

In the course of a day's gardening, you may end up with things that cannot be composted.

Designate a bin or trash can for yard waste, and contact your local waste disposal company about yard waste pickups.

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