While compost is great for all garden soils, poor soils Really benefit from incorporating compost. Whether your soil is mostly sand, mostly clay, or somewhere in between, composting will help build workable, healthy, garden soil. Building soil is an essential concept for good organic gardening, best summed up by the adage: “feed the soil to
feed the plant.” In adding compost to the soil, you are replenishing the reserve of organic matter and nutrients that are taken out with the garden crops. Essential to all
soil ecosystems, organic matter is the food for soil organisms. By composting, you are feeding the soil creatures, from the tiniest bacteria to the longest worm, who in turn make nutrients available to your garden plants.
All organic materials rot and can become compost but not all organic materials should be used for composting in your garden. Think of compost as materials deliberately assembled for fast decomposition. As you make a pile, think of yourself as catering to the creatures of decomposition—countless bacteria, fungi, and later, the worms, sowbugs, and other creatures. By deliberately mixing organic materials with an eye to moisture and aeration,
you can create the conditions that decomposer creatures love, so they will rapidly render your pile of debris into rich, brown, soil-building compost.
For efficient decomposition, a compost pile needs a good balance of Nitrogen (grass clippings, vegetable trimmings, green weeds), Carbon (fallen leaves, straw, sawdust), Moisture, and Air. If you have a garden, a yard, and a kitchen, you
undoubtedly are generating great materials for your compost pile. Use materials that are readily available such as raked leaves, grass clippings garden weeds, kitchen waste, and even yesterday’s newspaper can all be composted easily.
The following items that are not good for your compost pile:
- Meat and bones, dairy products and greasy foods (likely to attract pests)
- Cat, dog, and human feces (contain harmful pathogens)
- Weeds with rhizome root systems or mature seed heads (may not be killed in the composting process)
- Diseased plants and bug-infested plants
- Needles from conifers(use sparingly in compost as they are acidic and slow to break down)
- Leaves from eucalyptus, walnut and laurel trees (contain tannins).