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The Miracle of Composting

 

Introduce Yourself to The Miracle of Composting
We would like to introduce you to the advantages of composting in your garden! We'll briefly explain numerous methods of composting, and hopefully one of those presented will dovetail with your lifestyle!

Composting is part of Nature's system and life cycle. Plants and animals die; as they decompose the natural order of the universe uses their remains to regenerate life. Random composting is Nature's way of rebuilding the soil, and making available to living plants the resources they need to continue this incredible cycle.


We who garden and farm, can take some of Nature's wisdom and apply it to the land we steward.


Anaerobic vs. Aerobic Methods
We'll start out by quoting The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by the staff of Organic Gardening magazine, Rodale Press, Inc., Emmaus PA, 1978, p.238 : "There are two types of bacterial activity taking place in compost heaps: anaerobic breakdown (without air) and aerobic breakdown (with air). Some bacteria that cause decay function in a lack of air or oxygen. Others need plenty of air . Aerobic composting is more common and practical than anaerobic because it is faster and lacks the malodorous middle stage common in anaerobic decomposition. The anaerobic method of composting was devised to improve upon the aerated composting of organic materials. Aerobic composting brings about an oxidation that must destroy much of the organic nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Secondly, some of the valuable juices of the materials leach downward and out of the mass into the ground underneath and are wasted. The purpose of keeping out the air is to prevent or reduce oxidation. Research has shown that anaerobic composting preserves more of the nutrients in the compost than does aerobic composting."


The Trench or Earthworm Method
This may be the simplest method of composting. You just need a shovel and a place to dig a hole.
When we lived in suburbia, our entire back yard was a vegetable garden. We began by digging a trench about a foot wide by a foot deep by however long we wanted our eventual garden row. At the end of the day, all our kitchen scraps went into the trench. It's best to give meat scraps to your dog or cat rather than compost them, since they decompose very slowly. The main thing to keep in mind is: the smaller the particles and the more soil with which they are in contact, the faster decomposition takes place. So keep your shovel handy and when you liberate your scraps into the trench, pretend you are a chipper shredder and mince away! After you've nicely minced things, toss a shovel or two of soil onto your scraps and stir the soil into them with your shovel. Next day's scraps go on top of previous batches, using the same mincing techniques. Keep piling new scraps on top of old until you are about three inches below ground level. Then move on down the trench and repeat the process until the entire trench is filled to about three inches below ground level. Finish filling the trench to ground level with the excavated soil. If you were diligent about mincing and mixing your scraps, plant the trench with whatever vegetable you wish. If you weren't so diligent, wait a couple of weeks before planting.
When you are harried, pressed for time and tempted to otherwise dispose of your scraps, tell yourself what a valuable resource you will be throwing away by not composting! We've presented the simplest technique first. Give it a try even if your trench is only 1x1x1! Earthworms and plants will love you for it, you will reap the rewards of better tasting, more nutritious food and the satisfaction of integrating one of Nature's miracles into your very own garden!


Think About Garbage vs. Gold
We'd like to get you folks thinking about composting your kitchen scraps! We know some of you are faithful composters already. We also know how easy it is to just toss everything down the garbage disposal or into the trash compactor! What we'd like to get you thinking about is the gold that you are tossing out by using the disposal or compactor as opposed to the compost pile! There are several ways to compost. You can pick the one that suits your time and lifestyle constraints.
It's true: what you toss out or put in the compost pile doesn't look or exactly spend like gold! But, after a short metamorphosis, we think it's even more valuable than gold. Little Girl With Scraps Kitchen scraps help to build soil and encourage our friends, the earthworms, to tunnel around and do their magic in the soil and for the plants!
Another aspect of composting is recycling. Instead of sending your kitchen scraps to the sewage treatment plant or into a landfill, use them to enrich the area where you live and grow your food. We are back again to what one person can do! Think what a difference it would make if everyone composted their own kitchen scraps. We could turn scraps into gold instead of garbage! Shazam!


Beginner's Guide to Home Composting

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