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How to Create Compost for Your Garden

Jun 10, 2008
Adding compost to your vegetable garden provides an excellent natural fertilizer. Compost is a mixture of organic matters such as leaves, manure, table scraps. These items are left in a pile to decay where soil organisms will break it down into a fine, homogeneous soil additive for your garden.

Making your own compost requires very little effort. It just takes a little time, effort and space to create a compost pile. Find an area about 10 feet (3m) on a side or a circle about 10 feet in diameter. You can rake up a pile of leaves in the fall and add some grass cuttings, straw, vegetable leftovers or any organic material you have around. Not only can you create a wonderful compost fertilizer with these items but also you have your own natural disposal system for unwanted food items and yard clippings.

Eventually you want to make a pile from 3-5 feet (1-2 m) high. Flatten the top and make a small indentation to trap a small amount of rain water. You don't want to keep the pile too wet, though. It should have plenty of air circulation and excess water keeps out air.

Air provides oxygen that feeds the organisms that break down the material. Although you want air circulation, you dont want the pile to be too loose either. Because once the pile reaches a certain size and stage of chemical activity it will begin to heat. If the pile is too loose the heat will escape thus hindering the chemical activity process.

To beef up the value of the compost you can add a number of compounds that are not intended to be broken down, but will add to its eventual use as fertilizer. Raw bone meal, ground rock phosphate and lime make for good additions, though they're not the only ones.

Vegetation and these additives can be layered throughout the compost pile. When you have a layer about a foot deep, add some rock phosphate. Add an amount proportional to the compost pile. For instance, for every 100 square foot of compost you should add five pounds of rock phosphate.

Manure can also be applied to the layers in the compost pile. Usually a few inches of high for every foot of compost is sufficient. Manure can either be used alone as a fertilizer or works to enhance compost pile.

When the compost pile has been active for a few weeks, you can stir up the material to keep it uniform. This helps distribute organisms throughout the pile. By rotating the layers it will give you a more even fertilizer.

Once the pile is ready to use, you can spread it over the entire garden area. If you have enough spread about 25 pounds for every 100 square feet of garden area. If not simply apply it to those area where the garden will be planted and watch your vegetables flourish with the help of this wonderful natural fertilizer.
About the Author
Compost can be a key to your success when you're growing a garden. But it's far from the only secret. Visit the Gardener's Atlas website to get more helpful ideas about how to grow flowers and vegetables that will turn your neighbors green with envy. Visit http://www.gardenersatlas.com for more helpful tips & advice.
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