A reliable compost system is the hub of any thriving vegetable garden and fortunately garden composting is gaining popularity. Soils, particularly those soils intensively cultivated for harvesting fresh vegetables where we demand high performance from our plants, call for the digging in or mulching of compost for two vital purposes: in the first instance to enhance the composition and structure of the soil and secondly to add helpful nutrients to the topsoil. If the soil is too heavy, composed of large particles, and subject to water logging, this types of soil is generally known as clay soil. Plant's roots find it difficult to extract nutrients from heavy, clay soils and might rot entirely in chilly, wet winter months. Where soil is light and does not retain water, for instance sandy soils, nutrients are washed away easily and vegetables aren't able to draw out water and goodness from the soil. Adding organic, humus rich compost, like garden compost not merely restores nutrients to tired top soil but adds structure. This helps to make free-draining soils more water and nutrient retentive, and frees up clay soils to make sure they are more free draining permitting plant's roots to make better use of the nutrients contained in the soil. Even if you are lucky enough to have naturally rich and loamy soil a generous covering of compost in fallow periods can also guard unplanted beds from erosion and discourage unwanted weeds.
If you did absolutely nothing more besides dump all the garden and kitchen rubbish in a peaceful part of the garden it would probably rot down to compost in the end, but for faster results at least one compost bin becomes necessary. Classic wooden compost bins are perhaps the most attractive, and quite often can be purchased with add on modules. The nice thing about this set-up is that the keen gardener can start one bin, turn it in to the following bin, so that you can provide helpful mixing and aeration, then leave it to compost while beginning to fill the emptied bin with fresh waste materials. A lot of enthusiastic vegetable growers perfer to do this employing a 3-bin procedure and it enables them to pretty much generate compost when they want it, in harmony with the seasons. Compost tumblers, which rotate and aerate compost without the gardener having to do much more than turn a handle, or the latest innovative Aerobin garden composter with its core aerating 'lung', can produce fully rotted compost within several weeks once they have been filled. These bins are completely enclosed, with additional insulation to produce heat whatever the ambient temperature, and have the benefit of being pest proof.
Regardless of what type of compost bin you decide upon the guidelines on what waste matter to include are typically the same, it's good to create a balance between 'brown' and 'green' waste material. Green waste is nitrogen rich and is crucial to kickstart the process of decomposition. Green materials are often a useful source of nutrients in the compost. Brown waste is carbon dense and produces bulk and texture. As a general rule when starting for the first time try to get an even combination, adding brown and green waste in thin layers. You'll find you need to add far more brown waste if the compost looks damp and slimy, a lot of growers would reason that the balance should be more heavily weighted towards brown waste anyway. If the contents of your bin are too dry on the other hand, the composting process will cease and if so you have to water the heap. (Better yet ask a gentleman to pee over it for you - it is not a joke this is good science!) Green material includes grass clippings, soft hedge trimmings, spent flowers, fruit and vegetable skins, annual weeds, nettle and comfrey leaves. Those last two additions being excellent compost bin accelerators, however make sure it is nothing but leaves, no seed heads or root segments otherwise your plot will be overrun with unwanted weeds. Brown waste includes shredded woody prunings, scrunched paper, ripped up cardboard, dry leaves and egg boxes.. If you've decided upon a traditional wooden compost bin situate it on open soil so helpful micro-organisms can access the pile, and don't forget to mix and aerate the compost every now and then. You will often be advised to add organic matter, perhaps some compost from a previous heap, to start-off concealed bin units.
Don't forget that when you are composting you benefit not only your garden soil and all you wish to grow in it, but you are also helping the environment. All forms of recycling prevent the use of landfill and the associated releases of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, but composting is surely the most satisfying form of recycling. The alchemy of turning waste products into rich, crumbly compost which enhances life in your garden is better than golddust, and it's free.