Did you know that, according to the EPA, the United States produces more than 42 million tons of food waste every year? That’s 210 cruise ships filled top to bottom, stem to stern, with food. Or for something more relatable, that’s how much 9,333 Ford F-150 pickups weigh, or 14,000 Toyota Priuses. Indeed, learning how to make natural compost isn’t going to eliminate that kind of waste.
To talk about the best plants for straw bale gardening, it’s probably important to clarify what straw bale gardening is exactly. The short version is that you can grow vegetables in straw bales just as you would in a raised bed or large container. It’s a popular option in areas where the soil is contaminated or simply not conducive to growing plants.
Whenever I get to write about composting, I get that feeling you have when you’ve discovered a great new TV show and want to share all about it with your friends. Basically, compost is my Bridgerton. I feel like I’m constantly learning techniques and methods for composting and each one is more interesting than the next.
Pine needle compost might be one of the most misunderstood areas of composting. Sure, there’s some confusion about whether that take-out container is compostable, but when it comes to pine needles, there’s a longstanding assumption that they are too acidic.
A decade or so ago, there weren’t many people looking for ideas for easy composting at home. If you were interested in composting, you either ran a farm or you lived in a coop of recent college graduates who were going off the grid. As appealing as going off the grid might be these days, composting has hit the almost mainstream. You probably won’t find it listed as an amenity at your upscale condo communities, but it’s not unheard of to walk into a well-appointed suburban home and find a compost bin.
Composting used to scare me. I should say, compost bins used to scare me. I had heard all the great things about composting: that it was a super sustainable and a great cost-effective way of boosting nutrients into your soil. But, I was afraid of the stink of it all.
It’s no secret that I love compost. For those just getting into gardening, compost is decomposed organic matter that can be used as a soil amendment in garden beds and container gardens. It helps vegetables and herbs retain moisture and prevent pests and diseases. Compost has helped my vegetable garden thrive over the years and is my number one recommendation when someone asks me what they can do to improve their soil quality.
I’m guessing before we get into this, you want to know what the heck compost tea is. It certainly ain’t your afternoon cup of Earl Grey, I can tell you that. I don’t care how much honey you stir in, you don’t want to drink this stuff.
I sometimes feel like a magician when I work on my compost pile. A few potato peels, a bell pepper core, and some coffee grounds go into the pile, and within a few weeks, out comes gardening gold. Learning how to compost has been such a gardening game-changer for me. I’ve saved tons of money by not having to buy soil additives and bagged compost.
No, I’m really not here to make your composting life more complicated, even though it may seem like it. Composting is composting is composting, right? Well, yes, it is. But if you generate a lot of compostable material, or use a lot of compost in your garden, a 3 bin compost system might be a more effective way to break down all that material so you can take advantage of it more quickly and easily.