March is here and it’s time to start thinking about your spring gardens! The first step to having a healthy garden is using good quality soil. The most productive soil usually contains live microbes. These microbes are typically inactive until they are nurtured by organic materials or moisture.
Believe it or not, you can start your very own compost pile and have good soil in no time! All it takes is straw and vegetables or kitchen waste right from your home. Learn how to start saving your waste and you’ll be all set when spring rolls around. (Plus, the compost process can make a great science lesson or classroom activity!)
There are many ways that compost piles can be maintained. For example, they can be stored in a bin or trash can, but the most productive maintenance strategy is in the ground. To activate the microbes, the compost pile and the dugout soil should be mixed in a 3×3 foot patch that is 6 inches deep. After the patch is mounded with the existing soil, mulch or heavy straw should be placed on the top of the mound. Not only does this prevent smell, it also maintains moisture and prevents weeds. The compost pile should cook for about a month before worms can be added to the mix.
For more fantastic resources on composting visit GEF’s Green Thumb Challenge section on compost. If your plans are already set or your past techniques have been successful, let us know and share your ideas!