Sunday, December 23, 2012

Already Ready for Spring

I don't know about you guys but I am so ready for winter to be gone. I'm still excited about Christmas but this cold weather can just go away. For some reason today I've been thinking a lot about warmer weather and gardening. I have yet to decide whether or not I want to move in with Brandon but there is definitely some appeal in the large yard and space for a garden. I inherited a great love for homegrown fruits and veggies and the money I save doing it is also astounding. I'm really big into composting too. It's amazing for the plants and healthy for the soil as well. Plants can leach the soil of it's nutrients making it harder to grow the same thing in the same spot year after year without some kind of assistance. Fertilizers are also good for this but compost is essentially free.

If you're interested in composting the first thing you will need is a place to compost. Some people make bins out of rain barrels, some people use plastic tubs and some people make large bins out of wooden shipping pallets. Compost also needs to be moved around (turned) to agitate it, allowing oxygen in and in warmer months it needs to be sprayed down with water every once in a while. Both turning the compost and wetting it speed up the process of decay which is what you're looking for. So keep in mind that you're going to need to do these things when deciding where you want to compost and when. Don't worry though, contrary to popular belief; compost does not stink. There are rules to what you can compost and what you can't- following this will you keep you stink free.

Here are a list of just some of the things that can be composted:

  • paper (paper towels, newspaper, toilet paper etc.) shred paper or lay it out in layers
  • cardboard (old boxes, tubes, pizza boxes etc.) for larger boxes tear them up for a faster process
  • peelings and rinds (the peeling/skin off of anything is great for compost)
  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds (don't forget the filters)
  • hair (like off your hairbrush or from pet)
  • vacuum dirt (empty the canister in the pile!)
  • tea bags
  • grass clippings
  • leaves
  • stale bread crackers, beer, pretzels and cereal
  • plain pasta
  • cheese
  • old pieces of cloth cut into small pieces
  • ashes
  • Animal manure from herbivores and poultry
  • ^their bedding
  • saw dust and wood shavings
  • hay and straw
  • Flour (mix this and breads/cheeses well to avoid attracting rodents)
Create your compost pile with your lighter items on the bottom, spray down with a water hose and walk away. Continuously add more items and turn the compost once or twice a month using a pitchfork or shovel to turn the compost over and over. You won't want to turn it too much as it builds up a sort of heat beneath it that speeds up the process.

To really stretch out your compost when it's finished mix it in with potting soil or garden soil and pour into planting beds. If you use raised garden beds it's a good idea to lay down a layer of newspaper and then straw or leaves before adding your compost/soil mixture to get really good drainage.

So, there are some tips if you're interested. It's never a bad time to start composting and gardening. It helps save money for gardeners and helps the environment.

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