Organic gardening involves growing food without the use of any chemicals or petroleum-based fertilizers. The resulting produce is chemical-free and therefore considered to be healthier. How can you manage to grow a backyard garden without the use of fertilizer? The key to a thriving organic garden is compost.
Compost is a mixture of decayed plant and animal matter. The best compost for organic gardening should have a high nitrogen and carbon content. These two nutrients are key for nurturing healthy soil. There is a theory in the world of organic gardening that says you should feed the soil and not the plants. If the soil is healthy the plants will take care of themselves. Proper composting creates the healthiest possible soil for your organic garden.
The ingredients that go into making nutrient-rich organic gardening compost should all meet the following criteria:
- It should be biodegradable.
- It should be chemical-free.
- It should be full of nutrients.
- It should be disease and toxin-free.
As long as your ingredients meet these criteria they should be alright to provide organic gardening compost for your organic garden.
Composting material is divided into two categories, green matter and brown matter. Green matter is nitrogen-rich and moist. Brown matter is carbon rich and much drier. In healthy organic gardening one needs to put a balanced mix of nitrogen and carbon to flourish. Some examples of green matter are:
- Grass clippings and other green garden waste
- Kitchen vegetable scraps (eggshells too)
- Aquarium plants and water
- Chicken manure
Some examples of brown matter are:
- Shredded newspaper (black ink only)
- Dried garden waste
Once you know you have the ingredients on hand, you need to find a suitable container to hold your organic gardening compost. There are two basic styles/sizes of compost containers. Look at the size of your organic garden to determine your compost needs. A large garden may want a timber bin. These bins are essentially open topped wooden boxes. If you chose a timber bin, know that you need at least 25 cubic feet of ingredients to reach the proper composting temperature. Only a large organic garden can provide that much material.
For those with smaller gardens, continuous composting can take place on a smaller scale through a modeled plastic bin. These bins are made from recycled plastic and their unique shape allows you to add new ingredients to your compost every day or every other day to keep it topped off. The finished compost comes out a hole near the bottom. Some of these bins can even be sealed up for winter use.
No matter how much or how little you need, nutrient-rich organic gardening compost is vital for a healthy organic garden.