Of all the material that can be added to the soil, including chemicals, the most valuable is properly decayed organic matter, or compost. It not only adds valuable nutrients, but it also provides fibrous humus which helps to improve the soil’s texture, or structure. It helps to break down the heavier soils, at the same time providing lighter soils with a medium that will retain moisture. It holds just enough for the plants’ needs without causing them to be surrounded by stagnant water, a condition few plants will tolerate.
Compost can be made from crops deliberately grown for that purpose, comfrey (Syrnphytum X uplandicurn) being a very good example, or from waste organic material from the garden. It is surprising how much vegetable and fruit waste can come from the kitchen.
At its simplest, the compost heap is just a pile of weeds, lawn cuttings, and soft prunings, with perhaps some farmyard manure added. This heap will warm-up, providing the nice warm arid moist. an environment that will encourage bacteria to get to work, breaking it clown into a crumbly consistency.
A compost container can make this process happen more efficiently. The container will not only keep all the material neat, but it will also help to maintain its temperature and prevent too much rain from penetrating the layers. A compost bin can be made of any material as long as there are holes to allow air to penetrate and a lid to keep the heat in and the rain out, an old carpet or sheet of plastic can be suitable for this.
The composting material is best added to the heap in layers: a layer of grass cuttings followed by a layer of vegetable waste, followed in turn by weeds and so on, each layer being about 6in (15cm) thick. Any material, such as grass cuttings, that could mat together and make a solid lump, preventing the circulation of air, should be mixed with another material to lighten it. The bacteria are a vital part in the making of the compost that needs nitrogen as a “starter” to get the process going.
Farmyard manure is the ideal nitrogen material, but special compost activators can be bought if manure is not available. If there is not much soil on the weeds, a covering of good topsoil between every four or five layers is beneficial. A sprinkling of lime should be added every few layers to keep the heap from becoming too acid. A compost heap needs water, and in a dry season, a few buckets of water might be added.
Weeds that are in seed should not be added to the heap, as the compost rarely gets hot enough to kill them off. Avoid using any disease-infested material or anything, cabbage stalks, for instance, that are too thick or woody to break down.
Different composts possess different qualities. Some have a high nutritional value, while others are negligible in terms of the goodness they put into the soil.
Composted bark has become more readily available in recent years. Contains little nutrient value but is high in humus. It is particularly good as mulch.
Read More: Why Organic Materials Are Best For Gardens
Chicken manure is very strong manure that should be stored for several months before use. It is useful for adding as an activator in a compost heap.
Farmyard manure is well-rotted farmyard manure, containing clung from cattle, horses, sheep, or pigs, is excellent for conditioning soil. Contains a high level of nutrients and the straw provides plenty of humus. Often contains weed seed, as doubtful as mulch.
Leafmold is slower to decompose than normal garden compost but valuable both for its nutrients and humus. It is very good as mulch.
Peat has no nutritional value. It is useful in adding humus to the soil or as mulch but breaks down quickly.
Seaweed is a very good soil conditioner containing nutrients including valuable trace elements. Best dug into the soil, but can be used as mulch.
Various mixtures are used in growing mushrooms, usually including farmyard manure. Good value in both nutrients and bulk.
Good for conditioning soil or as mulch. It also includes chalk so do not use it on plants that dislike lime.
Why is Compost Needed For Vegetable Gardening?
This is a question many people ask. They see a bag of chemical fertilizer and think, that is all you need for the garden. Chemical fertilizer can poison your garden soil if too much is added. In one year you may have a fantastic garden, then nothing grows for the next few years.
Compost allows you to add natural nutrients to the soil and to help keep the water in the soil. If you have clay soil or the soil is too sandy, then compost will help make a more nutritious soil for your plants to thrive.
Necessary Elements Of A Garden
If you have ever planted a vegetable garden, you know that certain elements must be necessary for your plants to thrive. One is sunlight, and most plants require sunlight in abundance.
The next factor is water and plenty of it, especially in the early stages of your garden. And the final factor that will help your garden to thrive is compost. But what is this substance, and why is compost needed for vegetable gardening?
Provide Nutrients In The Soil For Your Plants
It is first important to understand exactly what compost is. This substance is an organic matter that is added to the soil in gardens for a variety of reasons. When you ask why compost is needed for vegetable gardening, the first answer will be chemical.
The compost will stabilize the pH in your soil if it is the proper mix. To understand this balance, it is best to have your soil tested to determine what the pH of your soil currently is. This way you can adjust the alkaline levels of your compost to make the pH in your soil friendly for your plants.
Compost Will Add Natural Nutrients To The Soil
There is another chemical answer as to why compost is needed for vegetable gardening. Compost will add much-needed nutrients to your soil so that your plants can thrive in the soil that they are growing in. Compost is generally recognized as being high in important elements like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. It is also rich in micronutrients that are important for healthy vegetable crops.
Helps The Soil To Hold Water
There are also physical reasons for why compost is needed for vegetable gardening. Sometimes you need to review the physical makeup of the soil in your area is not conducive to growing lush crops. Perhaps the texture of the soil is too clay-like or too sandy to hold water well.
Adding compost to the mix can adjust the consistency of your soil so that plants will grow bigger and fuller in your garden beds. Compost can also aid in moisture retention, allowing you to grow healthier plants with lower water requirements.
So when you ask why compost is needed for vegetable gardening, the reasons are numerous and significant. The next logical question is where does compost come from?
Read More: What are the Benefits of Organic Fertilizer?
Your Choice, Buy Ready Made Compost Or Make Your Own
You can choose to buy the appropriate organic matter from your local nursery or garden shop or make your own with homemade or store-bought compost bins for storage. Making your compost is a great way to help your garden grow and recycle at the same time.
You can get advice on the best method to create your compost by asking the staff at the garden nursery where you can buy your compost bin. They can advise on the best plants you can add from your garden, uneaten food from your meal table. You will find a lot of the food that is not eaten on your meal table can be placed on the compost bin to feed your garden.
Using your compost bin to provide natural organic fertilizer to feed your plants in your garden and pots will help stimulate your plants and receive all the nutrients they require.
These are some of the reasons why compost is needed for vegetable gardening.