Why Compost Heap and What Is The Science Behind It
One of the greatest benefits of organicvegetable gardening for beginners is eliminating the trace amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides found in traditionally grown fruits and vegetables. Organic gardening is also healthier because of the gentle work involved that results in a bounty of delicious and colorful foods. Organic gardening begins with a good organic soil, otherwise known as compost.
Why Compost ?
There are many benefits to making your own compost instead of buying it from the nursery or home improvement center. The first obviously is the cost. However, there is more than just saving money when it comes to making your own compost.
Wherever you decide to make your compost heap, it will become so hot that the soil underneath will literally burn away any type of grass or weeds including that all elusive crabgrass. The natural soil life and micro-organisms will bury down into the hot surface to survive. These nutrients leach down into the upper layers of the soil under the heap to feed on the decomposing matter. This is very fertile soil for planting, and also why many people choose the lasagna method as a means of creating gardening beds. It is a good idea to start two beds using the lasagna gardening method and also starting two more compost heaps to feed your garden during the growing season.
Compost gives an initial quick boost of micro-organisms when you are first establishing a growing area. This provides what is known as a starter culture for your new beds and new plants.
Compost is great fo making your own potting mixes for seedlings. Combining it with worm castings and sand, compost potting mixes have a perfect texture and water retention as any peat based mix or chemically laced potting mixed. This compost potting mix also is rich in nutrients to give your seedling and seeds a great start.
Fresh compost adds nutrients into the garden without the need of chemical fertilizers. It is also used as a nutrient-rich mulch that reduces water evaporation and helps keeps unwanted weeds away.
Simple Science Behind Making Compost
Compost itself living organism. It is a community of micro-organisms that take organic matter and turn it into a humic acid. This acid locks up the nutrients into large molecules that do not wash away with water. This means that the nutrients are slowly fed to your plants and soil instead of forced all at once. Plants are able to digest and absorb the nutrients better and therefore grow stronger and healthier which results in larger yields and more flavor.
The actual process of making compost is basically cultivating the living micro-organisms. Just like any other living thing, micro-organisms have needs which must be met in order for them to survive. Your compost heap, or lasgana gardening plot will flourish when given the proper amount of water, air, carbon-rich foods , some nitrogen-rich foods, an acidic environment and heat. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
The water comes from wetting down the different layers of the compost heap when you initially make it. You also water the heap each time you turn it. This turning brings up the decomposing organic matter and turns the undecomposed matter into the bottom. It also adds air into the heap.
Your carbon-rich foods are things like dry woody plants, stalks, dried leaves and even dried hay. The nitrogen-rich foods usually come from grass clippings and animal manure. Micro-nutrients include things like herbs, weeds and even seaweeds. Along with this you can throw in other organic matter such as produce debris, paper without ink and cardboard.
The heat occurs naturally as well as the acidic environment. Next we will get into more exact materials and what type of compost heap will suit your needs best.