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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Compost Nature's Fertilizer

Here's my compost pile enclosed in galvanized wire fencing
filled with green and brown waste.  Surrounding the base I
planted flowers, catnip and a few pineapple plants to give it a
pleasant visual effect.  It is also beneficial to have flowers and
plants that will attract the right type of bugs and insects that
can boost a better compost pile.

Composting is an excellent way to recycle your green and brown waste, as a wonderful fertilizer compost has a lot of nutrients that plants and soil thrive on to help your garden grow healthy and vibrant plants.  Some of the beneficial qualities compost has is it adds organic matter back into the soil which improves the way water interacts with the soil.  Compost also protects plants against drought, in sandy soils it acts as a sponge to help retain water in the soil that would drain down below the reach of plant roots.  Compost also inoculates the soil with vast numbers of beneficial bacteria, fungi better known as microbes and the habitat that microbes need to thrive and live in.

Air, water and food is needed to maintain a compost pile so make sure that your compost has adequate aeration for your pile and microbes by thoroughly breaking up and mixing in any ingredients that may mat down and exclude air.  Your pile should be moist to fit the needs of the compost microbes, at the moisture level there should be a thin film of water coating every particle in the pile, making it very easy for the microbes to live and disperse themselves throughout the compost pile.  Fruits and vegetable wastes have plenty of moisture as well as fresh green grass clippings and garden thinnings.  Composting microbes need two kinds of food, "browns" are dry and dead plant materials such as straw, dry brown weeds, autumn leaves, and wood chips or sawdust.  "Greens" are are fresh and often green plant materials such as green weeds from the garden, kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps, green leaves, coffee grounds, and tea bags.  Compared to browns, greens have more nitrogen in them.  Nitrogen is a critcal element in amino acids and proteins, and can be a protein source for billions of multiplying microbes.

Another good thing to know about composting is what NOT to compost.  Avoid chemically-treated wood products and sawdust that contain arsenic, a highly toxic ingredient because it can be leached into the soil which is bad for compost.  Diseased plants should also be avoided to eliminate reinfecting next year's garden.  Human wastes can contain disease organisms that will make people very sick, avoid this one like the plague.  Meat, bones and fatty foods waste materials are very attractive to pests, in an urban setting this could mean rats.  Pernicious weeds such as morning glory/bindweed, sheep sorrel, ivy, and several kinds of grasses.  Pet wastes, NEVER use dog and cat feces because they may carry diseases that can infect humans.  For more Info on composting click here



upinak said...

okay Aloha, how do you grow a pineapple.

I am overly curious.

Yeah, of course the Alaskan asks the dumb questions! hehe

Aloha2U said...

Not a problem, there are no dumb questions.

What you do is take the crown off the top of the pineapple fruit then peel down from the bottom up about an inch and a half of the crown leaves.

From there you place it in water for about a week and a half to two weeks so that the roots can grow out. When the roots have finally grown out about a few inches it's time to transplant it in the ground. The fruit will begin to sprout out from the top of the crown that you have planted.

The only thing about planting pineapples as a drawback is it takes about 1-2 years before you'll see the fruit full and ready to pick.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Great post, Aloha! Composting is also a great way to just lessen the amount of crap we throw away in addition to helping the soil!

You're so lucky your can grow pineapple. We had fresh pineapple in Jamaica and it was like no pineapple we'd ever had at home! YUM!!!!

Aloha2U said...

Gen-IL-So true about lessening the crap we throw out. I have a recycle trash bin for greens but I never use it, it all goes into my compost. I'll also have to wait about 1-2 years for my fruit.

Phoenix said...

Since you are in Hawaii, how do you deal with the rats getting into the compost? When I lived on Maui, the rats were as big as cats!

Aloha2U said...

Good point Phoenix, my neighbor on one side of me has the rat thing going on, only because they don't take care of their property as they should.

I haven't really run into any problems as of yet because my dogs dislike rats and when they hear them they go chasing after them. I wish I could let my cats out to have a field day with them critters but since the neighborhood is predominantly dogs it's best they stay indoors.

These rats look like beanie babies.
Now if only my neighbor would clean up his property once a week instead of once every so many years than there wouldn't be much of a rat problem.

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