Here's the Dirt:

Composting is nature's way of turning waste into black gold.  The resulting compost is a rich and fertile soil amendment that will make a garden sing.  The best part?  It's FREE!

Composting can be sophisticated and large-scale (for farmers or commercial growers) or it can be simple and small, for home gardeners or landscape purists. If you're a first-timer, you need an area dedicated to a compost pile, or a homemade or commercially designed compost bin. Since your kitchen vegetable waste is going to be added to the compost on a regular basis, you'll want it within easy walking distance from your house.

Compost needs equal parts green and brown matter.  Green includes nitrogen-rich materials such as fruit and vegetable cores and peelings, corn husks and cobs, nuts and their shells, and grass clippings.  Brown includes dry, carbon-rich hay, fallen leaves, and small twigs. Air and water are the only other necessary ingredients. Never add animal products like milk, eggs or meat scraps, as they'll rot and smell.  Compost should not have any odor.

As you add to your compost, the organisms, bacteria, worms and insects continually break down and bio-degrade everything until it all turns to a dark and nutrient-filled natural fertilizer. The vitamins and minerals that were in the edible produce scraps now are part of this soil amender. 

Turning the compost regularly with a pitchfork or tumbling inside a container will aerate it and cause everything to break down quickly.  The sun's heat and the chemical reactions taking place will kill off many undesirable ingredients but you should never add diseased plants or weeds to your compost, to ensure that those negatives don't accidentally pass on to your next generation of produce.

Generously mix your compost into your garden's soil in the spring before you plant, for the most lush and healthy produce possible.

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