If you feel strongly about eating your own home-grown, organic vegetables, and want to improve your garden soil, you need to learn how to make organic compost at home.
For most gardeners, the principle of simply growing your own vegetables using compost you make yourself would be entirely satisfying.
BUT, if you are committed to making organic gardening compost, I encourage you to give it a try.
Why Make Organic Compost For Your Garden?
The whole point of composting waste in the garden is to turn organic material into nutrition for our plants, as well as to provide a well-structured soil for our vegetables to grow.
Good news! You can improve your garden soil, including adding garden compost you made yourself, in many ways. Here are a few options:
- Burn the garden (do you need the fire department to stand by?)
- Add fertilizers (is it natural and organic?)
- Incorporate manure (but is it organic?)
- Add compost (should you buy it or make it?)
Burning releases certain nutrients that would otherwise be locked away in cells of vegetation. But composting is a less frantic way to release this valuable energy.
There are two basic ways to compost:
- hot composting
- cold composting
We discuss both methods in this article, along with how to make a compost bin at home.
How To Make Organic Compost At Home
Ways to make your gardening organic:
- using organic seeds
- avoiding chemicals
- using organic compost/improvers
In order to make organic compost for your garden, you need to know where everything you add to your pile comes from. If you don’t know the origin of a food scrap, an eggshell, or a tea bag you’d like to add to your compost heap, you shouldn’t add it.
Organic gardening is not easy, and neither is making organic compost.
Some gardeners add these to their garden, without knowing where they are coming from:
- Kitchen scraps
- Egg shells
Manures are probably the first place we would turn if we needed to improve the soil nutrition and structure. But, as an organic vegetable gardener, should we use manure?
Strictly speaking, it’s likely we couldn’t use it because there’s more to “organic” than simply avoiding animal products and chemicals.
In order to use manure, you’d need to know that the animals producing the manure were organically fed and were kept in stables that used only organic bedding.
This care would prevent accidental exposure to non-organic materials and unwanted chemicals that could be absorbed and processed, transferring them to the animals’ waste products, and therefore, our food chain.
Collecting manure from free-grazing animals might be a good option, but if these animals are treated with medicines during their lifetime, do those medicines comply with an organic system? It’s hard to tell.
- Some antibiotics and other drugs (like de-wormers) are not compatible with organic growth.
- It is also quite common for farmers to use chemical herbicides to control certain unwanted plants. How do you know for sure that those chemicals aren’t entering your food chain?
How can you obtain organic manure?
Probably the best approach for securing organic manure would be to do so through an organic meat producer. Remember that their manure is valuable to their own farming, so don’t expect it for free.
You can purchase bagged manure, such as steer manure and chicken manure that is certified organic. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way.
Getting organic compost
Municipal or council produced compost might be an option for a home gardener. But it’s not necessarily good for an organic grower, as the waste that the council collects to make the compost is completely untraceable.
Buying organic compost can be very expensive, but most lawn and garden stores have bags of organic compost for sale.
Or you can make your own. Learning how to make organic compost is probably the best way to become an organic gardener.
It might be a long road, and in the end, you might decide that 100% organic is not that important. But as long as you get good, nutritious food you grew yourself your family will thrive without spending a lot at the grocery store of the vegetable market.
Making your own compost will give you control over your compost pile. And whether you make hot or cold compost, you will need to be careful of what you put in your compost bins or composter.
No matter what you end up doing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your garden and the food you harvest from it!