Compost is called black gold by many gardeners because they know it’s what makes the garden plants grow strong. This black gold is easy to make at home with food scraps that would otherwise be tossed in the trash. In addition to making gardens grow better by improving the soil, homemade compost also saves money and recycles kitchen waste so it doesn’t end up in landfills. Use these guidelines and enjoy great success!
Create a dedicated space to hold the kitchen waste and other organic matter until it decomposes. The compost pile can be as simple as a pile of leaves and food scraps on the ground or it can be as elaborate and costly as having a series of bins housing differing degrees of decomposition. Every gardener has their own style of a compost pile, but start one somewhere even if it’s in a 5-gallon bucket.
Layers of brown and green organic matter to eventually end up with black gold. The brown layer is dead organic matter, like dried leaves and the green layer of organic matter is fresh kitchen scraps, like vegetable and fruit peelings.
Place a layer of brown matter on the bottom, then add a layer of green. Moisten the two layers before adding more layers. Continue the brown and green layering process until the compost bin (pile, bucket, etc) is full, then leave it alone to cook.
Turn the pile once a week to blend the outer ingredients into the center of the pile where it’s the hottest.
What to Compost
All vegetable and fruit peelings, cores, stalks and tough outer leaves. Egg shells, coffee grounds and leftover vegetables and fruits that have passed their prime. Any food scraps except meat, meat grease, fat, bones or dairy products are a welcomed addition to your pile.
Outdoors offers a bounty of brown and green compost-able material. Fallen, dry leaves and green leaves, small twigs, wood shavings, garden refuse, lawn clippings and newspaper.
How to Use Black Gold
When the organic material has decomposed, place a wire screen on top of a wheel barrow and shovel the finished compost onto the screen wire so it can act like a sieve. Small, usable particles will fall through into the wheel barrow while the larger pieces remain on top to be re-added to the compost pile for a little more cooking time.
Use the black gold in planting holes, as side dressing for plants, incorporate it directly into garden soil and/or make compost tea to feed garden plants.
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