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Grow Your Own Organic Fruit and Vegetables: Compost

Posted by SoundHealth on Saturday, December 06, 2008
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Compost is needed to improve soil conditions and provide your fruit, vegetables or herbs with essential nutrients to grow.

Ready-made 'bagged' compost is available from garden centers and this is usually made up of sand, wood chippings, bark and fertilizer.

However, the organic approach is to make your own compost at home by recycling your rubbish. This is easy to do and takes little time because once you have added the material, natural processes take care of the rest.

All that is needed to start composting is a bin with a lid, and no holes. Place the bin in a warm, sunny place in your garden that is easily accessible.

So What Can Be Composted?

Quick to Rot:

  • Grass cuttings
  • Plants, including small weeds
  • Manure

Add regularly:

  • Fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Eggshells
  • Teabags and coffee grounds
  • Hedge clippings
  • Cut flowers
  • Pure cotton and wool clothing- shredded
Add occasionally:
  • Paper and newspaper- shredded
  • Autumn leaves
  • Wood- chopped or shredded
  • Sawdust and shavings
  • Straw

Never Add:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Cooking fat
  • Any cooked food
  • Glossy paper
  • Synthetic fabrics
  • Perennial weeds

The compost should be turned regularly to allow air in which will speed up decomposition and help to make the compost quicker. If the compost is too dry, then add water or if too wet then add dry material like paper.

To deter mice and rats, NEVER add any cooked food, especially meat or fish to your compost. Keep it strictly vegetarian.

It can take 2-3 months or up to a year to make compost, depending on the size of your bin and how much material you add. Compost will be made quicker if the material is cut into small pieces before being added.

The finished product should look dark brown, crumbly and sweet-smelling. Any material that has not broken down sufficiently can be put back into the compost pile or will be decomposed in the garden.

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