Natural Gardening





The Pros of composting Versus the Cons

There are obviously downsides to composting or everyone would be utilizing this resource instead of buying commercial fertilizers and other lawn care additives.  The downside is the time it takes to upkeep, the space to house a composting bin and the amount of time before your first mature compost will be ready.

The benefits of composting far outweigh the downside.  For the time you invest, the space you give up in your yard and some patience you and your yard will get:

* A lesser need for commercial fertilizer or eliminate it altogether (saves money)
* Increased water retention in your soil.  If there is a dry spell your garden and lawn that has been treated with compost will fair better than those that have used commercial products
* Improved plant growth.  You will also find an increased amount of fruit or vegetables that your plants produce when using mature compost.
* Protection for your plants from diseases or pests that can destroy your vegetation

The environment also benefits from the time you invest into composting.  In addition to eliminating the amount of waste that goes to the city dump.  In some cases organic material makes up to 45% of the garbage that ends up in a dump – this can be greatly reduced by composting.

* If there is an area of contaminated soil, you can add compost to assist in the “cleaning” process
* Compost can help prevent and stop erosion
* Eliminates the need for adding chemical pesticides to your garden or lawn
* Decreases the amount of methane gas that is produced at the dump (by reducing the amount of organic matter that is thrown away)

Like any new project or habit, composting will take some time to get used to.  Once you have completed the initial start-up process the time and energy you need to maintain the pile is not a lot. 


Creative Composting

If you do not have a large backyard or live in an apartment but still want to compost, there are options available.  You can still compost easily and conveniently.  Some options include composting on a balcony, in your garage, or even under your kitchen sink.

The best way to compost in a small space or indoors is using worms to help with the decomposition process (known as vermicomposting).  This is a clean and odor-free way to compost and can be done on a small scale.  You will need quite a few worms to start the process.  Even though with this method you will add mostly green food (kitchen
scraps) the brown food is also necessary (the carbon is needed).  A good source of carbon for an indoor composting bin is shredded newspaper – just remember not to use the glossy pages.

You can try a traditional hot compost bin on your balcony taking special care and consideration to turn the pile frequently to eliminate odors.  You do not want to alienate your neighbors.  You will still need a supply of brown food to use in your compost bin, contact your local gardening center or municipality on the availability of getting this
resource for free.  Chances are they will be happy to supply you with a bag.  You can create your balcony compost bin out of a garbage can with holes drilled through the sides to help with air circulation.

Another option is to look into a communal composting area for your apartment building.  Check with the landlord or property management to see if there is a space you and the other residents can utilize to start a compost pile.  The mature compost can be used for house plants, balcony gardens, or flower boxes.  A schedule will have to be maintained with either everyone sharing in the work or a volunteer that manages the pile.


Herbs by the Ounce
at Years to Your Health

Nathaniel Hawthorne
"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."  ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse