Composting

Composting

Everyone seems to be talking about composting these days, even the upscale gardeners who read the glossy gardening magazines. It’s no wonder. Composting provides an environmentally sound way of transforming biodegradable waste products into microbe thriving "black gold."

More communities are turning to composting as landfills exceed capacity. Over 2500 new composting facilities have been built in the past decade. Still, only 5 million people in this country compost in their own backyards.

One problem urban and country dwellers share when it comes to composting is waiting for the darn stuff to break down. In a world of high speed computer modems, cell phones and pagers it is only logical to speed up the process of composting, right?

Quick Compost, by NK Lawn and Garden will do just that, hastening, by several weeks, the time it takes for compost to turn into a useable garden amendment. For those of you who suffer from an inordinate amount of clay in your soil, composting is the answer. Composting will supply your garden with a continual source of rich humus that will loosen up clay based (heavy) soils, allowing the roots of flowers and vegetables to penetrate the soil. For folks with sandy soils, compost will perform the opposite function: it will bring soil particles together and help retain water for plants to use, while still allowing the soil to "breath."

So here's the breakdown on composting with Quick Compost. Simply start saving your grass clippings, leaves, shredded paper and any type of hay, straw and livestock droppings. Household biodegradable refuse is not recommended because it’s messy and attracts critters. However, some food scraps, such as corn husks and potato peelings are fine if mixed into the compost pile soon after it is discarded.

The next step, of course is to find somewhere to put this biodegradable material. Composting bins are the answer. These bins can be homemade or store bought. Several companies make portable composting bins. These are sold through seed companies and garden supply centers. These cost between $60 and $100. Or you can build a simple three or four side enclosure out of scrap lumber. Make sure whatever you build is well ventilated to allow for the free movement of moisture and air, which will aid in the breakdown process. I use three wood pallets which I stand at right angles to each other. I tie these together to hold them in place. This makes it easy to access the compost, which needs to be periodically turned to aid in the breakdown stage. A city dweller could build a smaller version of this which won’t stick up over the neighbors fence!

Regardless of what type of composter you choose, Quick Compost can help. Simply mix the liquid solution with water and sprinkle over your already decaying organic material. Turn the mixture once or twice a week with a pitch fork or garden fork to help the process along. Keeping the compost damp, but not soggy, will help Quick Compost do its thing.

I used the product this fall on a stubborn pile of perennial plant stems that I had clipped out of my wife’s perennial garden. I thought it would take months for these thick stemmed perennial plants to decompose. I was amazed at how much the pile shrunk after only about two weeks! It was like, hey where did all the compost go? This spring I’ll spread the compost on my garden and work it in with the tiller.

Quick Compost is the only liquid accelerator on the market. It is also the only one which uses naturally occurring microbes, enzymes and fungi to turn waste into something you can mix in with your soil, according to information I obtained from the manufacturer. They said it is also the "premier" compost accelerator in England and is now available here in the U.S.

Like anything else, composting requires an initial investment of time and money to set up an effective operation, however, it will pay for itself several times over in rich humus for more bountiful harvests, prettier flowers and luscious lawns.

Quick Compost can be purchased at major garden centers and some department stores. Or call (423) 499-4488 for an order form. It is sold as All Purpose Quick Compost, Quick Compost for Grass and Quick Compost for Leaves. It retails for about $12.99 and comes in a plastic bottle. It is an entirely safe, liquid product that will delight the most ardent organic gardener! Try it and let me know how it’s working.

About the AuthorNeil Moran is a horticulture trades instructor and author of North Country Gardening: Simple Secrets to Successful Gardening. Neil is also the owner and operator of Haylake Gardens, a garden center and gift shop in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Questions and comments can be emailed to nmoran@30below.com.

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