This is the time of year that I start dreaming about my garden. I study plant catalogs, read on-line blogs and purchase landscape magazines in the grocery store check-out lanes. I know that no matter how pretty the flowers are in the magazines, they must have good nutrient rich soil to grow. Even if you aren’t a gardener, spring is the best time to add fertilizers to your lawn and flowerbeds to give your plants a nutritional boost.
Unfortunately, some synthetic fertilizers are harmful to the environment and organic fertilizers can be slow to react and expensive. Consider kitchen scrap composting and plant leaf composting as an answer. Think of it as free vitamins and nutrients to grow healthier and hardier plants. Compost also loosens hard clay soil and suppresses diseases and harmful pests.
The easiest way is to purchase or build a small indoor composter with a charcoal filter and keep it close to your kitchen. Food scraps decompose and can be taken to a municipal compost facility or your personal compost pile. As the scraps break down they add micronutrients to the soil and help loosen clay soils. At least, fifty percent of your compost pile should contain leaves to speed the process and keep pests away. In Chatham County, kitchen ($5) and backyard composters ($45) can be purchased at the Main Solid Waste & Recycling Facility in Pittsborro, NC on County Services Road.
Appropriate compost items are shredded or torn plant leaves, used coffee grounds, tea leaves, vegetable scraps, grains, old spices and crushed egg shells. Like traditional composting, never add newspapers, pet waste, meat, grease, oil or dairy products directly into your soil or composter. You should be the only one digging in your dirt!