Adding compost to your soil enriches it and produces a greater yield of vegetables, more fruit on your plants, vines or trees and larger flowers with more blooms in your flower garden. Compost adds nutrients back to the earth that may have been depleted through years of use. Rotating crops will help some in preventing this problem but adding compost is always a good idea.
What you can use for compost
There are a lot of things that are usually sent to the landfill that make excellent compost. First of all in your kitchen – used paper towels, old bread, table scraps, the empty cardboard paper towel roll, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper bags, lint from your dryer, any leftover produce and vegetable or fruit peelings.
From the bathroom – empty toilet paper rolls or facial wipes.
In your living room – newspapers, envelopes from incoming mail, any junk mail (except on shiny paper) shredded to ensure that no personal information is accidentally compromised, sale papers or flyers.
From your yard – leaves, grass clippings and wood shavings.
Barn or pasture — cow, horse or chicken manure are great natural readymade compost and can be added to your garden at any time.
Where to store your compost
Any large container with drainage will be a good place to store your compost. It can be made from any kind of material and can be kept anywhere that is convenient for you to add items to and should be reasonably close to your garden.
When you have paper material to add it can be shredded or chunked in whole. As you add other items and as the rain soaks through the layers it will all begin to decompose. Any materials that are biodegradable in a reasonable amount of time can be added to your compost bin. You can occasionally take a shovel and turn your mixture and add any leaves or pine straw that may be collecting in your yard.
When to add compost to your garden
The best time to add compost is in the late fall after the frost when it can be plowed into the soil and allowed to further decompose over the winter months. Your vegetables will be long gone by this time and even if you have a late crop such as turnip greens or collards you can add the compost after they have been harvested. If your area is small or you don’t have access to a garden tractor, you can take a shovel and mix the compost in.
A good mixture of compost improves the quality of the soil. Better soil produces more and better vegetables and fruits. Try making compost yourself keeping in mind that you are improving your world as you put garbage to a better use and prepare your soil to give you more food for your table.