BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 187 Projects
The byproducts of routine yard maintenance can pile up. Consider the waste generated by your landscaping during a single year: grass clippings, deadheaded blossoms, leaves, branches, and weeds. all this can be recycled into compost and incorporated back into plant beds as a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Compost is nature’s own mulch, and it effectively increases soil porosity, improves fertility, and stimulates healthy root development. Besides, making your own mulch or soil amendment through composting is much less expensive than buying commercial materials. Kitchen waste and yard refuse are all the ingredients you need. So how does garbage turn into plant food? The process works like this: organisms such as bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects convert compost materials into humus, a loamy, nutrient-rich soil. Humus is the end goal of composting, and it can take as long as a couple of years or as short as a month to produce. With the right conditions, you can speed up mother nature’s course and yield several helpings of fresh compost for your yard each season. This is called managed composting, as opposed to passive composting, when you allow a pile of plant debris and such to decompose on its own. The conditions must be just right to manage compost and speed the process. You’ll need a balance of carbon and nitrogen, the right temperature, good air circulation, and the right amount of water. By mixing, chopping materials, and monitoring conditions in your compost pile, you’ll increase your yield each season.