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Compost

Compost from my strawberry-rhubarb pie

Compost can be an essential part to your garden. It provides nutrients for the plants and costs you nothing (it helps if you eat organic produce which contains no pesticides but this is not a requirement). The only drawback is that it takes time. As a society which demands instant gratification this can be a major setback since compost will take its time. You can speed it up a little with environmental factors like heat and moisture and the proper balance of green and brown composting materials but it will need time to break down and produce what is known as “black gold”. This is the wonderfully, dark, rich and crumbly, nutritious dirt-like matter that ends up at the bottom of a compost pile at the end of a season and can be used to make your plants look fabulous. All you need to do is save most of your leftover scraps from the kitchen. Any vegetable scraps or food wastes that don’t include meat, fish, fats or bones should go into your compost pile. You can compost these things but they have a tendency to overheat your compost, make it stink and attract animals. You may not want additional wildlife in your yard at night looking through your compost, so avoid them. These kitchen by-products along with grass clippings, coffee grounds, and other garden waste are considered green compost and are high in nitrogen. Brown compost, which is high in carbon, should also be added to your pile and includes newspaper, untreated wood by-products, cardboard, leaves, pine needles, peanut shells and fruit waste. A good compost pile includes all of these things which most people throw into the trash and can cut your contribution to the local landfill by 2/3! So start collecting your compost. Put it in an enclosed area in your yard which is surrounded by a wood, plastic or wire mesh bin and save the environment and your plants by simply separating your trash!

How to build your own compost bin

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