How to Be Successful at Composting Essay example

1226 Words5 Pages
How to Be Successful at Composting As an avid gardener and as someone who is conscientious of my environment, I purchased a compost bin several years ago. I have an abundance of yard and lawn clippings that I am not willing to dump into our already stressed landfills. In turn, my efforts for composting benefit me greatly because I can use this finished material to improve my soil texture, the soil's ability to hold water, and as a fertilizer. Composting is a biological process for converting organic solid wastes into a stable humus like product. Within a compost pile, microorganisms attack organic substance, breaking it down and producing rich organic matter (Golueke,13). For this to occur, several things need to take place, two of…show more content…
This can be done a number of ways. Most county agriculture departments will supply you with a soil test kit or with a phone number to obtain a kit. There is also pH paper on the market along with a more elaborate method known as "compost extraction" (Trautman). When taking a measurement of the pH, it is important that several readings are taken because your compost is unlikely to be homogenous. It may contain anything from sawdust and grass, to lettuce and coffee grounds. If your pH reading is between 6 and 7.5, most plants will do well in this type of soil. If the pH is 6 or below, the soil is probably too acidic and you will need to add lime to the compost, such as ground chalk or a limey clay (Sines,27). This solution can be said to contain more H+ ions than OH‑ ions. Many plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas and blueberries love this type of soil. If the soil has a pH above 6, it is too alkaline and contains more OH‑ ions than H+ ions. You will need to add "brown" material such as pine needles or sawdust to counter act this condition (Golueke,83). Carbon and Nitrogen (C/N) ratio is also an important element in composting. The ratio is used to give an indication of the speed at which organic residues in the soil are likely to be decomposing. Carbon can be considered the "food," providing an energy source and a cellular building block. Some sources of carbon are leaves, cornstalks and twigs. Nitrogen can be considered
Open Document