Let It Rot: Five Guidelines For Composting

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost
Compost is what is left over when organic matter decomposes. Organic matter can be things like vegetable scraps, leaves, mown grass and any other garden waste. This material will decompose without any assistance at all, though you can help it along and enjoy the benefits of compost faster if you wish. Because it doesn't contain a high level of essential nutrients, compost is not considered an actual fertilizer. Instead, it is treated as a soil conditioner or amendment. Compost does supply many good things to the soil. It attracts beneficial creatures like earthworms and it improves the soil composition. Cold composting is basically just making a pile and letting it sit in the bin. This takes longer than hot composting. Hot composting is when you take a shovel and turn…
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Let’s Speed Up That Compost Pile

Let’s Speed Up That Compost Pile

Soil & Compost
Compost piles must hold a minimum of organic material before they will maintain rapid decomposition. So the pile should be at least 3-feet-by-3-feet and 4-feet tall. Naturally piles can be larger. Moving leaves to the pile, then chopping them up with a lawn mower or leaf shredder before they go on the pile aids composting considerably, as small particles decompose faster than large ones. There are other things we can do to accelerate composting and make it more efficient. As slightly wet leaves decompose quicker than dry ones and rain may not penetrate the pile center, I'd dampen dry leaves before adding them. Ground limestone may also be scattered in if we add a bunch of oak leaves and we're concerned about the acidity they may generate in our pile.…
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Creating a Beautiful Perennial Border

Flower Gardening
<div style="float:left; margin:0 15px 10px 0"><img src="https://farmhomestead.com/graphics/1437.jpg" width="235" height="166"></div> By Guest Author: Peter Gordon These are the steps I take in preparing and creating a genuine herbaceous border that is purely dedicated to herbaceous plants and does not include the planting of shrubs, but can include using bulbs or annuals to help with all year-round colour. Before starting work it is important to plan the overall size of the border; one tip - if anything, go for as much width as possible, because one must try to imagine what the border will look in three years; and trust me, there will never be enough space! The more depth to a border the more luxurious it will be. When it has matured, the large open spaces you started with will have…
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Composting Is Key To Successful Organic Gardening

Composting Is Key To Successful Organic Gardening

Soil & Compost
Compost is a great tool for any gardener. It helps your garden hold just the right amount of water, makes it the right texture for optimal plant growth, and provides it with beneficial natural organisms. While you can buy several different types of compost products at a retail store or gardening center, it's much cheaper to make your own compost. Not only will you save money, you also get the added benefit of knowing that you're not just throwing your yard waste away; it's actually doing something beneficial for your garden and for your health. Before getting started on building your compost pile, you should know what to put in it. To get good compost you need four elements: carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water. Grass clippings from your yard provide…
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7 Required Components of a Compost Pile

7 Required Components of a Compost Pile

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost
Compost, made from decomposed grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and branches, becomes a dark, crumbly mixture of organic matter. Learn how composting works. Even a newbie to composting can make good quality compost. It can be compared to cooking as art or part science. The following 7 factors will help you master the art of composting. Components of a Compost Pile After a time anything that was once alive will naturally decompose. But, not all organic items should be composted for the garden. To prepare compost, organic material, microorganisms, air, water, and a small amount of nitrogen are needed. These items are safe to compost at home: * grass clippings * trimmings from hedges * vegetable scraps * leaves * potting soil that has grown old * twigs * coffee filters…
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Easy Steps to Composting

Easy Steps to Composting

Soil & Compost
It is becoming more and more obvious these days that we need to recycle as much as we can, and anyone with a garden has a head start and can make a great contribution. To many novice gardeners, this subject can be somewhat difficult to grasp; but in fact it is really straightforward - there are just a few very simple rules: You need a compost bin, and the type you decide on rather depends on the size of your garden, but there are a couple of options: A purpose built plastic bin purchased from a garden centre, not too expensive; and you just fill up from the top and a few months later, you can take compost from a small hatch at the base. Alternatively, if you can wield…
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What is Organic Composting?

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost
Making compost will help you reduce pollution and cut down that landfill! Your plants will grow healthier and look happier for it and it will save you money on fertilizers too. Our local council in Manchester has now given us brown bins for us to add leaves, grass and other compost matter into, which is then emptied every two weeks once it has reduced to less than half its size. What is compost? Garden guides often describe composting as natures way of recycling. Composting is indeed a natural way of recycling, harnessing natural processes rather than machinery and man-made chemicals, but it takes people to do it. Soil maintenance is at the heart of organic growing: don't feed the plants, feed the soil -- the plants will look after themselves.…
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Update…

Our Homestead
Well, the tomatoes are getting ready to be RED! Eugene has pulled it off again this year and has supplied the compost pile with over forty five bags of grass clippings. It is making a fine mulch as well! I came by an old chipper/shredder just collecting dust in someone's barn. What a BOON! for only $125!!! Getting it running will consist of some carburetor work... and I can chip and shred to my little hearts desire. That will aide in adding some 'brown' to the mix. My neighbors already think I'm a little kooky, always asking them... "What are you going to do with that?" They proceed to look at me like I have three eyes and I say, "Then can I have it?" Hey, one man's refuse is…
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Compost’s Carbon: Nitrogen Ratios

Soil & Compost
Everything organic has a ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N) in its tissues. See below for a list of C:N ratios of common organic wastes. It is the combination of materials that creates the ideal climate for compost microbes-a C:N ratio of 30:1. This combination, along with moisture, volume and surface area, is what makes a fast, hot pile. Some composters like to keep things simple and use the terms brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen), and follow the general rule of 1 part brown for every 2 parts green. Manure (Fresh)15:1 Legumes (peas etc.)15:1 Grass Clippings20:1 Manure w/Weeds23:1 Weeds (Fresh)25:1 Hay (Dry)40:1 Leaves (Fresh)40:1 Leaves (Dry)60:1 Weeds (Dry)90:1 Straw, cornstalks100:1 Pine Needles110:1 Sawdust500:1 Wood Chips700:1 Other composters like to build their piles using a variety of materials and using the…
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Vermicomposting? What’s THAT? Composting with vermin?

Vermicomposting? What’s THAT? Composting with vermin?

Organic Gardening, Our Homestead, Vermicomposting
Vermicomposting? Aaaaaa hahaha... honest to God, that's the first thing that went through my mind when I first saw the word. I'm SO not kidding. But it's meaning is this... the use of specially bred earthworms, esp. to aerate soil and convert organic matter into compost; also called vermicuture vermi = worm culture. Sound sort of icky, but have you EVER smelled BAD compost? Ewwwwww. Now, have you ever smelled the forest floor? Good clean soil? Actually the soil is down below. In a good forest, the first four inches or so is humus (A brown or black organic substance consisting of partially or wholly decayed vegetable or animal matter that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.) I was going somewhere with this...…
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