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What's Your Compost Style?

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Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 7:15am

You know there’s a reason experienced gardeners call compost “black gold” today on Southern Gardening. 

Plants just grow better when compost is used. Gardeners want compost because this broken down organic matter improves almost any garden bed. It adds moisture holding to sandy soils and helps to increase drainage in a tight clay soil. But some gardeners think composting is complicated and they’re going to make mistakes. But truth be known, composting is really easy. 

A simple way to compost if you have a lot of room and time is to just make a pile. This is a good way to handle leaves in the fall after you’ve chopped them up with the lawnmower. 

If you want a more contained look then you’ll need to provide a basic bin. Use four posts and chicken wire to complete a simple compost bin. Making the sides of a bin out of four used pallets is a great way to recycle with a purpose. 

I personally like the three bin composting method, with each bin measuring approximately three feet wide by three feet high by three feet deep. Fill the first bin with green and brown materials, a good ratio is three parts brown to 1 part green. When the volume has reduced by half move into the second bin and refill the first. Repeat moving from the second to the third to finish, first to the second, and refill the first. You can keep this continuous cycle going as long as you have the “raw materials”. 

So whether you’re making lots of compost or just enough to top dress in the spring, your plants will appreciate your efforts. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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