When It’s Time to Compost Your Veggies – Everything You Need to Know
Adding compost to your soil improves its ability to hold air and moisture, allows it to drain more efficiently and feeds your plants a greater reserve of nutrients. Regularly composting your garden also encourages an increased population of microorganisms that combat harmful bacteria, as well as increasing your plants’ resistance to insects and diseases.
Compost is essential to creating a healthy and productive garden. Using vegetables to compost your garden is ideal as it’s efficient and packed with nutrients. In this guide, we’ll explain how to determine when your compost is ready for use, as well as additional information on creating the best compost for your garden.
When is Compost Ready?
Mature compost looks dark and rich, feels crumbly and smells like soil as opposed to rotting vegetables. If you really want to get technical, you can further learn about advanced compost properties such as the pH value and microbial activity. That said, a simple examination should give you an idea as to whether your compost is ready.
It’s important to be able to discern the difference between mature and immature compost, as the latter can contain harmful pathogens and acids that could damage your plants.
Immature compost also requires nitrogen and oxygen to properly decay. Your plants require the same resources to grow, which is why it would be wise to avoid using unfinished compost in your garden.
Furthermore, you can stretch your composting resources further by picking out bigger bits such as egg shells (known as “compost overs”) from your mature pile and returning them to the bin for another round. This will help maintain adequate nitrogen levels in your garden as larger pieces require more of it to fully decompose.
Using the right foods as compost is essential, as they contain the necessary nutrients your plants need. Using the wrong type of food can cause nutrient imbalances, attract pests and cause unpleasant smells.
It would be wiser to try keep your own food fresh for as long as possible and stick to using inedible food as compost. Take some time to learn how long each food can be stored before it’s time to send it to the compost bin. This website features a handy guide on how to keep broccoli fresh to help you get started.
Refrigeration is undoubtedly the best way to keep your edible veggies fresh and moist. Here’s a post that answers the question of can you freeze raw cabbage. By learning how to adequately store your food, you’ll avoid unnecessarily wasting your vegetables on compost. Here you can learn how long do carrots last in the fridge.
Best and Worst Foods to Compost
The best home food waste to compost includes all vegetables, both cooked and uncooked, grains such as rice and barley, coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit pulp, crushed egg shells and parts of corn such as the cob and husk – although corn takes some time to break down. Anything made out of flour such as bread, pizza crusts, noodles and crackers are also a great option.
Foods to avoid include meat, fish, greasy or oily matter and any types of dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt or cream. Aside from the lack of nutrition, the smell and tendency to attract pests is enough reason to rather dispose of these foods than to use them as compost.
Composting is an interesting and rewarding process that will ensure your plants are growing healthier and more efficiently. It’s also a great way to contribute to saving the environment and reducing waste, so don’t hesitate to start your own composting bin. The time and money saved in the process will be well worth the effort.