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What's Your Compost Style?

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December 4, 2019


There's a reason gardeners call compost "black gold” today on Southern Gardening.

Compost is broken-down organic matter that improves any kind of soil. It adds nutrients and moisture-holding capacity to sandy soil and helps loosen clay soil, allowing it to drain better. Plants simply grow better when compost is around. A lot of gardeners don't compost. They think that it's complicated and that somehow they'll mess it up. I'm here to tell you, anyone can compost. It can be as easy as dumping leaves and grass clippings in a pile. It's a good way to deal with fall leaves-run over them with your lawn mower first if you want them to break down a little faster. This is a good option for cool composting Or you can put more time and effort into a three­bin system that creates compost quickly. These bins can be purchased read y-made or you ca n build one of slats or pallets. Make sure each bin holds a t least one cubic yard (3x3x3 feet) -that appears to be the magic number which com posting is most efficient. Ready-made compost tumblers are enclosed, so it's safe to put food scraps in them. Some have a stand that allows them to be flipped over to turn the compost. Others are ball-shaped so you can roll them around the garden to turn the compost.

Which one works best for you? You might choose a combination -a simple compost pi l e in a hidden area away from the house, and a read y-made compost tumbler for the kitchen garden. Whether you're producing lots of compost or just enough to top-dress a bed or two every spring, your plants will love you! I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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