Kitchen scraps, shredded paper, and lawn clippings usually end up in the trash bin, but can easily and cheaply be turn into a source of rich nutrients to add to garden beds. This is called composting, and while many people assume that composting is a complex and challenging undertaking, there’s really no need to be intimidated.
The benefits for the garden are many: it improves soil structure and also water retention, helping to keep plants healthier for longer in dry conditions. It provides a source of slow-release, organic fertilizer for plants, while at the same time boosting the community of microorganisms and other creatures beneficial for plant.
Composting is as easy as 1-2-3.
2) Fill it: All manner of waste can go into a compost bin. There are two basic types of organic waste: nitrogen-rich (aka “greens”) and carbon-rich (aka “browns”). Use about twice as much carbon-rich material as nitrogen-rich. Some good carbon-rich materials include dead tree and shrub leaves, cardboard, newspaper, shredded paper and wood chips. As far as nitrogen-rich materials go, think of fresh grass clippings, green yard waste, vegetable scraps from the kitchen and even hair (think of Fido’s brush).
3) Turn and water: Organic matter needs both oxygen and moisture to break down. To add more oxygen, give compost a turn every once in a while with a pitchfork or shovel and keep compost generally as moist as a wrung-out sponge.
There you have it! Let nature take its course. In a matter of time, some of the best garden food ever, all made from stuff that would have thrown away, is free to use in the garden.
For more details including a complete list of WHAT you can compost - attend a workshop I am doing on Saturday, October 2nd from 1pm - 2:30 pm with the Phoenix Permaculture Guild.
Location: Central Slope Design Center
Street: 8801 N. Central Ave
City/Town: Phoenix, AZ 85020
Hope to see you at class soon!
aka the Garden Goddess
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