Compost is an outdoor gardener's most valuable asset. The product of decomposing organic matter, such as dead plants and kitchen scraps, compost is a nutrient-rich soil conditioner that helps crops grow up healthy and problem-free.
Making compost is just as important for indoor gardeners, whether you grow in soil or in a hydroponic system. Here are seven reasons why:
REASON 1: Raw materials. Your garden produces the basic ingredients needed to make compost, such as leaf trimmings, plants that have finished their life cycle, and used growing media. The stems, cores, and inedible parts of fruits and vegetables from your daily diet also can be composted. You'll see you have even more ingredients on hand in the section below that explains how to make compost.
REASON 2: Plant booster. Compost is the perfect complement to peat or coir (coconut shell fiber) in a seedling- or clone-starting mix. Compost feeds the tiny plants with essential nutrients in the form that's easiest for them to absorb. If you grow your indoor garden in a soil blend, compost is an invaluable ingredient, helping to manage moisture dispersal while providing a steady supply of natural nutrients.
REASON 3: Microbe stimulant. Healthy micro-organisms that protect plants from diseases thrive in compost. Feeding those microbes dramatically increases their populations, so your plants stay healthy and problem-free.
REASON 4: Money saver. Why buy soil amendments and microbe boosters while paying to have the simple ingredients you need to make your own hauled away?
REASON 5: Clean up time. Your kindergarten teacher was right. We all should clean up after ourselves. Instead of shipping waste from your garden to the landfill, tidy it up at home by making your own compost.
REASON 6: Fight climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that landfills are the single biggest emitters of methane gases, which contribute to the "greenhouse effect" that scientists believe is the cause of climate change. Composting is a simple thing you can do on your own to help protect the planet.
REASON 7: Fun and easy. Composting couldn't be simpler. If you have 3 foot square space outside, simply pile up the plant waste from your garden and kitchen scraps that don't contain meat, fish, dairy products, or oils. Add coffee grounds and eggshells, if you have them. Include grass clippings, fallen leaves and other yard waste. You can toss in manure from plant-eating pets, such as chickens, rabbits or guinea pigs, but don't include dog droppings or cat litter (they may carry diseases). When the pile gets to about 3 feet high, it will begin heating up and breaking down. Stir it up with a shovel periodically, moving the decomposing material out of the center of the pile and pushing still whole ingredients to the middle. The compost is ready to use when it looks and feels like chocolate cake crumbs: Dark brown and in easily broken up chunks. If you don't have outdoor space, look for compost tumblers that fit under decks or on balconies. Another option is worm bins that you can keep inside. Wherever you grow, composting is a simple, but valuable step to help your garden and the world around you.
COMPOSTING DONE SIMPLE
Are you a regular composter or are you just starting out? Safer® Brand has a variety of resources to help you get better or start out! Here are just a few:
Ready to begin your composting project today? Don’t forget to include Ringer® Compost Plus® Compost Starter. This special mix supercharges your compost with microbes and other valuable nutrients. Be sure to visit the Safer® Brand Community on Facebook, where you can share pictures and ideas. Also sign up for a subscription to the Safer® Brand E-Newsletter for links to helpful articles and announcements about our products.