Stated simply, compost is decayed organic matter such as yard and food waste that is rich in nutrients, aids in plant growth and helps improve soil composition. The act of composting is the natural process of recycling such material. This is extremely beneficial to improve the various native soil types in Howard and Carroll County, Maryland.
Benefits of Compost
Increases organic matter in the soil to feed plants
Makes clay soil more airy and helps it drain better
Helps sandy soil retain water
Helps balance the PH of your soil
Can extend growing seasons by moderating soil temperature
Enhances vegetables ability to fight common diseases
Reduces your volume of yard waste
Is Compost Fertilizer?
Great question, no it isn’t. Compost feeds the soil and fertilizer feeds the plants. Fertilizer will add nutrients to the soil but it is designed to meet the needs of plants and it won’t improve the composition of the soil you are working with. Another thing to remember is there are no specific measurements for compost use but there are very specific application ratios for fertilizers based on plant requirements.
What can I compost?
Grass clippings (mix with dry material like weeds or leaves)
Fruit and vegetables trimmings
Straw (rotted or moist)
Basically any plant or natural food based items can be used for compost. Depending on your compost structure, a pile outside or a bin, will help determine what you include in your compost. For example using a bin type structure will help prevent attracting unwanted animals if you have a lot of food waste.
What structure is best for me?
Depending on the size of your gardens or how much compost you desire will ultimately determine what size compost structure you will need. Larger quantities of compost are often best managed in a large open pile. Alternatively, there are smaller bins available for purchase or you can construct your own bin from pallets or lumber.
Check back soon for specifics on how to layer the material in your compost pile and balancing ingredients for ultimate results.