Composting is important. First of all, it makes use of all the vegetable waste matter that too many of us sadly throw in the bin or down the garbage disposal. Secondly, it will give your garden nearly everything it needs to grow and blossom. Most importantly, it makes for a more self sufficient vegan gardener!! Since one of the aims of the vegan organic gardener is to reduce the amount of external inputs to a minimum, composting one’s own vegetable and garden matter is an essential.
To start a heap, get a container and a cover at least the size of a garbage can. Get something that has holes/slats, or drill some holes yourself if need be. The compost will need to breath. We nailed together wooden pallets and they work great. Our containers don’t have anything on the bottom, which is also recommended for breathing.
Next, start piling up your vegetable waste, tea bags, small amounts of wood ash or saw dust, dry leaf matter, shredded cardboard and paper. Most gardeners will talk about “green material,” ie vegetables and grass, and “brown material,” which would be dry leaves, cardboard, hay, chipped twigs, stalks, and pine needles.
After three to seven months, once the pile has accumulated a large amount of material, it needs to be turned. Put the freshest matter on the bottom of a new pile. We turned our heap this past weekend and added layers of cut grass and evergreen material. We’ve found that having separate containers for a new heap and an old heap is necessary for this step. After another four to six months of sitting, the compost should be dark, crumbly, and non-smelly. If this is the case, then it can be used for anything- seed germination, potting/repotting, or existing beds.
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