Mix finished compost with garden soil and use it as mulch on top of the soil, dig it into the soil, or use as a potting mix for plants in containers.
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You can compost in an open pile, or build your own bin out of scrap lumber, old pallets, or concrete blocks! Check out Yardener, it gives some great information of building all different types of compost bins.
Residents of apartments and condominiums can compost too! Covered bucket systems and worm bins work best for small spaces.
A guide to composting in your home can be found online.
Ideal conditions of the proper bin system (good layering of greens and browns, the correct amount of moisture, adequate mixing, and high temperatures) can produce compost in less than one month. However, it usually requires several months for good compost to be produced. Your compost is ready to use when it is brown, uniform in consistency, crumbly, and has a sweet earthy smell. You may want to sift your compost through a screen before use.
To enjoy delicious, healthful vegetables, apply compost. Dig it in the fall, bury it in the trenches, put it in the furrows where planting and in the holes when transplanting. After plants start shooting up, mix it with equal amounts of soil and use it as a top-dressing.
The rule when mulching is, the finer the material the thinner the layer. Doing this will give you a rich, loamy, friable soil that will grow big yields of all kinds of vegetables. They'll be higher in vitamins and minerals, too.
For sowing seeds indoors or in a cold frame, put your compost through a ½-inch sieve, then shred it with a hoe or even roll it with a rolling pin to make it very fine. Then mix it with equal amounts of sand and soil. The ideal seeding mixture is very mellow and tends to fall apart after being squeezed in your hand.
Finely screened compost is excellent to put around all growing flowers. Apply it as mulch, about 1 inch thick, to help control weeds, and conserve moisture, or top-dress it mixed with the soil.
Compost grass clippings, leaves, weeds, flowers, twigs, horse manure, vegetable and fruit food scraps (bury in your pile to discourage animal problems).
Do not compost:
Compost watering is an excellent way to give your flowers supplementary feeding during their growing season. Fill a watering can half full of compost, add water and sprinkle liberally around the plants. The can may be refilled with water several times before the compost losses it potency.
For questions or concerns you can call Robin Gollehon at 252-726-6071, or email.
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