Make Your own Compost -Winter 2019
Feed the Soil, Not the Plant
by: Aidan Feeney
Learning to create quality compost is one of the most important fundamental skills of any gardener. Too often, growers overlook soil health and instead focus on bottled or bagged fertilizers. Fertilizers are effective in their own right, but they do not contribute to the basis of a healthy soil, which lies in its biology.
Compost, on the other hand, introduces and feeds populations of organisms in your soil. These organisms break down organic matter and minerals, making them available to your crops. The result is crops that are more vigorous, healthy and nutritious than anything that can be grown using fertilizers alone. This is what is meant by the old farming adage “feed the soil, not the plant.”
When assessing what should be put into your compost pile, they should be categorized as “brown” or “green” ingredients.
“Green” ingredients include the fresh, moist waste items from the garden and back yard. Examples include grass clippings, kitchen waste, garden waste, green leaves, etc. These ingredients are typically produced by most households in abundance.
“Brown” ingredients, on the other hand, can be harder to come by without seeking them out. “Brown” ingredients include straw, dry grass, dry leaves, sunflower stalks, dry reeds, corn cobs, etc.
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