I do not put ads on my blog but do have a counter that shows me how many visits the pages get. (The stats. count is just there so I can see if I am 'talking' to myself, luckily so far this has not happened.) By continuing your visit here you are consenting to the stats. counter tracking cookies. Cookies, that sounds like something nice to eat but not that exciting.

Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

How Compost is made. Information about making compost for the garden.

Making your own compost from garden waste, kitchen vegetable waste and suitable discarded paper and cardboard is simple.
It is one of those things that when you read information on how to do it you may be put off by all the minor details. However making compost is not difficult, the real skill of composting efficiently comes in knowing when to make simple/minor adjustments to the compost heap.
Almost anyone can make compost and it turns waste into a valuable resource to use in the garden or on the vegetable plot. 
No one should be put off by all the jargon it is basically piling up certain useless items together and turning them into something incredible. 
The skill is what you put into that heap and
giving it a bit of time and attention occasionally. The things that help your compost to break down faster are turning the heap, adjusting the moisture levels if the compost heap is too wet or too dry. Adjusting the moisture level of a heap that is too wet can be solved by throwing in some ripped up brown cardboard, if your compost heap is too dry then the solution is easy just throw a bucket of water or two over it. You will soon learn to judge when these adjustments need to be made to the compost mix.
You can make compost by throwing the 'compostable' items onto the compost heap.  Eventually it will compost down but it may take longer if the mix is unbalanced plus it may not produce such a good quality compost. With a little extra attention you could improve it and as with most gardening the more times you make compost the simpler and easier to understand the process becomes
The magic happens on the day you discover that this heap of vegetation and rubbish has turned into something else, something useful and soil enhancing. 
To me  it is such an amazing process, that a heap of 'useless' items turns into a product that will improve the soil and give back to it something that all the vegetable growing needs. 
I can only liken the magic of the composting process to arriving home to discover that the ingredients you had bought to make a cake had cooked themselves into a cake while you were away for a holiday. 
Your first go at making compost is a learning process, once you ‘get it’ you will suddenly understand how simple it is. The compost will need adjustments sometimes but this is probably not that you have done anything wrong just simply that you need to make a minor adjustment such as throwing a couple of buckets of water over the heap in a dry spell.
How does composting take place? 
Composting takes place thanks to some little creatures that you may think at first should not be there and the natural decomposition of fruit and vegetables and green growing plant matter. It is in providing the right environment for these to flourish that you speed up these natural processes.
Naturally in the warmth of summer the break down into usable compost is quicker than in a cold climate. It is similar to fruit in a bowl going off quicker when it is hot.
The basic recipe for compost is Green + Brown = Compost
The other factors involved are warmth, air and ‘things that live in the soil’...visible and invisible.

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a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote