Sunday, September 21, 2014

Composting: Everything you need to know

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A gardening newsletter featuring Ask & Share and our friends at HGTV Gardens

  • September Ask & Share Highlights

  • Make Your Own Compost

  • Composting Coffee Grounds

  • Composting — Without a Compost Pile

  • Tips & Tricks

  • Adding compost is one of the best ways to build healthy soil, the foundation of a thriving garden. Fall is a great time to start a compost pile using the organic matter that's so abundant at this time of the year, from garden trimmings to grass clippings to autumn leaves. No matter where you garden, find out how you can make your own "black gold" to enrich your soil.

    Ask & Share Community Highlights

    Benjamin asked:
    How and when should I use my compost I'm my raised garden bed? Winter is nearing and I'm wondering if I should put my compost in my garden before snow comes or just keep my compost for next summer?

    NGA answered:
    Adding compost in either spring or fall is beneficial to your soil. If you've got plenty of compost, adding an inch or two to your garden beds both spring and fall would be ideal. MORE

    Larry asked:
    I grew blue potatoes this year for the first time and the plants have clusters of round objects on them. Are they seeds for next year?

    Felder answered:
    Yup. Potatoes are close relatives of tomatoes and peppers and eggplants, and make little "fruits" which contain seeds. Most of the time you are best off saving some of the tubers themselves to grow more plants - much faster, more dependable and predictable. MORE

    Make Your Own Compost
    One of the best ways to make sure you're raising healthy plants is to promote the growth of vigorous roots. Strong roots come from healthy soil. Regularly mixing compost into your soil improves its health. While compost can be purchased, making your own is easy and has numerous benefits besides helping you grow healthy plants. One benefit, of course, is the money you'll save.

    Read the full article>>>

    From our friends at HGTV Gardens
    Composting Coffee Grounds

    Coffee grounds, along with paper coffee filters, are great as an ingredient with compost (including indoors "vermicomposting"). Bonus: coffee grounds, like tea leaves, are a good source of valuable natural nitrogen — the main ingredient that helps beneficial bacteria break down organic matter into finished compost.

    Read the full article from HGTV Gardens>>>

    Composting — Without a Compost Pile
    We all know that adding compost is the best thing you can do for your garden. It helps build a healthy soil, makes nutrients available to plants, improves water retention and recycles organic waste. But what if you can't compost in the traditional way? For years I felt guilty about not composting. Didn't I want to make the world a better place? Of course I did! But both places where I garden make it impossible for me to have a traditional compost pile.

    Read the full article>>>

     NGA's Tips & Tricks
    Speed Up Composting

    For the quickest composting, chop up organic materials before adding them to your pile or bin. Small pieces have more surface area for microorganisms to work on. A power shredder is a great investment if you compost on a large scale, but you can also chop leaves with a lawn mower and cut up plant material with loppers or hedge clippers.
    Replenish Your Soil

    Fall is a great time to add slow-acting amendments to the soil. Do a soil test first to see what's needed. Then add lime, sulfur, and rock powders like rock phosphate and greensand according to the soil test recommendations. Now is also a good time to replenish the soil by adding compost, chopped leaves, or other organic matter that will break to form humus down over the winter.

    Prepare New Garden Beds

    Save your back by preparing new garden beds without stripping off the sod. Cut existing grass as short as possible; then spread a layer of compost several inches thick on top. Cover with a layer of newspapers 4-5 sheets thick, wetting the papers with a hose as you lay them down. Then top with a layer of mulch, chopped leaves or more compost. By next spring the sod will have decomposed beneath its blanket, adding organic matter to the soil and the bed will be ready for planting.

    Join Ask & Share for more great information from the experts at NGA, our friends at HGTV Gardens, and real gardeners just like you!

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    Williston, VT 05495

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