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The Gardener’s Kitchen and Home Composting

by admin on 18 July, 2012

A good gardener does not want to waste kitchen scraps. So much of the food that we don’t eat can be "repurposed" as food for our plants by composting. The starting point is some kind of kitchen compost bin.

It doesn’t matter whether the waste food is cooked or uncooked; it can still add valuable nourishment and texture to our garden compost. The vegetables we grow (or buy) and don’t eat can contribute to the next round of growth in the kitchen garden.

The best composting process to choose can vary according to the climate. It is important for the composting mix to remain moist, so in hot countries it is probably best to use an enclosed composter of some kind to avoid its drying out. In cool climates also an enclosed process is helpful to keep in the heat generated and so speed up the decomposition. In many parts of the world, however, it is adequate simply to have an open heap of rotting plant waste at the bottom of the garden.

Your choice of composting method might depend on the size and character of your yard. If cosmetic issues are to the fore and you want everything in the garden to look neat and clean you may prefer to buy a tidy looking composter. Another factor could be vermin. If you’re troubled in this way you’ll want everything to be enclosed.

Composters come in a variety of types and sizes. Some require manual stirring from time to time to allow air to reach all parts of the mix so that oxygen can play its important role in the chemical reactions of composting. Others have some kind of built-in mechanism for tumbling or mixing.

With a good blend of cuttings and trimmings from the garden, some soft and some woody, along with vegetable waste from the kitchen the keen garden can have beautiful crumbly compost, plant food and soil conditioner, sometimes within a few months depending on the conditions.

So having chosen your method and installed a kitchen compost bin the important thing now is actually to do it, to collect the vegetable scraps, to empty them regularly into the outdoor composter, and to stir the mix every week or so.

Choose your material collection and composting process thoughtfully, use them regularly. Composting can give a real sense of responsible care for your garden, taking what otherwise would be treated as useless and turning it into something valuable. You’ll get a good supply of crumbly, nutrient rich material with which to pamper your plants. You’ll love spreading it on your borders and mixing into the growing medium for your containers (it’s great for pots when mixed 50/50 with leaf mold). Yes, you’ll come to love your compost.

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