Compost means partially decomposed material. With compost, you can buy or make some at home with various materials. Compost is crucial for improving the soil structure and introducing nutrients to your garden soil. People prefer using compost in comparison to manure as it smells better and it is cleaner. So, what is the best organic compost for vegetable garden? That is what we want to look at in this guide. We will discuss the benefits of compost and how you can use it for your vegetable garden.
Benefits of Composting
If you are going to use the best organic compost for vegetable garden, then you would want to know the benefits associated with composting. Below, we look at what are the benefits of composting in your garden.
It will improve the soil structure
The soil structure involves looking at how inorganic particles combine with the organic particles such as compost and humus. If the soil has a healthy structure, then it would be crumbly whenever you touch it. Also, the soil would allow plenty of water, air, and energy to move in the soil freely.
Whenever you add compost to the garden soil, it will help neutralize the pH and further improve the cation exchange capacity of the vegetable garden soil. This results in making the soil to hold more nutrients for plant use.
Increasing of the nutrient content
The main reason anyone would want to use compost is because it leads to having the best organic fertilizer for your plants in the garden. When the organic materials in the compost are broken, they release a lot of nutrients for your plants.
As part of making the soil better, the compost also releases a community of organisms into the soil. This includes the useful bacteria, fungi, and many others. Such organisms that are common include earthworms and beetles. They might look creepy, but they are important for boosting the health of the soil.
Other than introducing the important macro and microorganisms into the soil, you will also introduce the vital nutrients to the garden. Such include nitrogen, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorous, and much more.
You will use less water
For your plants to grow better, the best organic compost for vegetable garden will also improve the moisture retention capability of the soil. This means that you get to use less water in the garden.
The organic matter will make any type of soil better at holding the water and resisting compaction. The result is that you can also reduce erosion and runoff with compost. Several studies show that the addition of compost to sandy soil helps to improve moisture dispersion to help the water move all around the soil.
Since the soil can retain more water after compost application, this means that you do not have to water the garden that often.
Keep plant diseases away
Some of the commercial fertilizers might not be the best. It is why we often resolve to using the best organic compost for vegetable garden. This is because compost can also ward off plant diseases. Compost is found to be ideal at controlling diseases and insects that might overrun a more sterile soil structure.
Considering you would now not be using pesticides to control such diseases and insects; you will not worry about the pesticides becoming pollutants. The surrounding environment now remains safer for you to keep enjoying clean and healthy vegetables.
A nice way of recycling kitchen and yard waste
There is no doubt you would have kitchen and yard waste to take care of each week. The best way of dealing with such waste is converting it to compost. Make sure that you do it correctly to end up with the best compost.
This process is also important as it reduces landfill waste. Instead of the waste ending up in a landfill, you end up with more fertilizer in your vegetable garden.
Types of Best Organic Compost for Vegetable Garden
If you are going to attempt making the best organic compost for vegetable garden, then it is best to understand the types of composting you can do. Below, we look at the most common types and how they are applied.
This is where you would compost wasted foods in small amounts onsite. The aim of this compost is to reduce the amount of wasted food that is commonly thrown away and end up in landfills. This type of compost can also be filled with yard trimming, food scraps, animal products, and more. The amount of food scraps that can be used depending on the size of the space available for composting.
The climate and seasons can affect how well you prepare this type of compost. You might have to make a few changes if it gets rainy. Also, the food scraps need to be handled properly so that they do not cause odors or further attracting some unwanted animals into the yard.
For this type, you will need red worms in bins. These red worms can feed on food scraps, the yard trimmings, and any other organic material to turn them into high quality compost. It is easy to set up worm bins and start the process. There are some available for purchase if you do not want to make them yourself.
It is estimated that mature worms let us say 1000 worms can eat half a pound of organic material each day. Depending on how much compost you want to make, you can always increase the number of worms. It will take up to four months to have usable compost when using this method.
Aerated or Turned Windrow Composting
For this type, it is best used for those looking to create a large volume of compost. They can be big composts with most of the materials coming from entire communities. Such materials will be collected from restaurants, packing plants, and cafeterias. The result is that you end up with large volumes of compost, so you might need help marketing the end product if you have to get more people buying the compost.
The term windrow is because the compost is formed into rows of long piles. You will have to periodically turn the piles to aerate the compost and thus the name too.
This is another method for composting large amounts of waste. However, it does not need taking up a lot of space. This method can accommodate almost any organic waste. It can be meat, biosolids, food scraps, and animal manure.
The waste is fed into a drum, silo, or related equipment. With such an environment, it is possible to control the temperature, airflow, and moisture. The compost has to be turned mechanically to improve aeration.
Depending on the amount of compost you want to generate, the size of the vessel will vary a lot.
The best part about this method is that you can have the compost ready for use in a few weeks. Well, some might give it a few more weeks to make sure it is good enough for application.
Tips for Making Better Compost
If you are going to make the best organic compost for vegetable garden, then you need to get it right from the basics. Below are some tips to get you started.
Use the optimal balance of the materials in the compost
The compost materials vary a lot depending on the quality of compost you want to achieve. As a result, you need the right balance between these materials. The two main materials include brown and green materials.
Having too much brown material will make the compost to take a lot longer to break down. When you have too much green material, then you end up with a slimy and smelly compost pile that also does not break down well.
It is now best to learn more about these materials to find the right ratio. This ensures you do not end up with the wrong balance of the two. You can involve a professional where necessary to understand about the right ratio between the two.
Keep turning the compost more often
Turning the compost more often is crucial for adding more oxygen to it to help with decomposing the various materials. The bacteria in the compost needs air for survival. So, it is best after a week or two, you consider turning the compost. Without turning the compost, the bacteria can die and you end up with a compost that takes a lot longer to decompose and ready for you.
Depending on the method of composting, you might need to turn the compost mechanically or manually. Some drill into the compost using long PVC pipes. These pipes help in letting more air into the compost. You can combine the two and see how faster and better you get compost.
Keep an eye on the moisture level of the compost
Keeping the compost at the right moisture level is important to ensure the pile is decomposing efficiently. The key is to keep the moisture level at optimum without getting the pile too wet and soggy. Some would recommend adding moisture to the compost by using a wrung-out sponge. Just make sure it is not too wet.
For those living in a very dry climate, consider making indentations in the pile for collecting rainwater. This should help keep the pile moist. If you live in a rainy area, always cover the top of the pile to prevent it from getting too wet.
Shred some of the materials before adding to compost pile
We recommend that you do this for the brown material. Brown materials include leaves, straw, paper, cardboard, and hay that are rich in carbon. Shredding is necessary to increase the surface area for the compost microbes to work on when introduced into the compost pile.
As for the green materials such as manure, green pruning, and vegetable waste can also be shredded. If you want to add soft succulent materials, no need to shred them as they brown down quickly.
Use multiple compost piles
For someone who has a lot of materials to compost, then it is better to start a new pile rather than adding fresh compost material to an existing pile. Once the composting process is already underway, it is advisable not to add new material. You can only add the material if you need to correct the balance. It is best to start a new pile of fresh compost material all the time.
What is the best compost for vegetables?
The type of materials that you use in making the compost will determine if it will be the best organic compost for vegetable garden. As a result, you have to research more about what constitutes of the best compost for vegetables. Sometimes you might have to add commercial compost which might have all the right ratios of nutrients that the vegetables need.
How long does it take for compost to be ready?
Several things can affect the amount of time it takes for the compost to be ready. For most combinations, it will take around three months for the compost to decompose. However, if the parameters are not right, sometimes it can take a lot more. Some may even take up to six months to be ready. Also, the method of preparation plays an important role in how compost decomposes.
What can you do with compost at home?
We have already mentioned about using the best organic compost for vegetable garden. However, what are the other places you can use the same? We would recommend adding it to the potted plants, donate to farms, sell to a local farm, or share with your gardening friends.
If you are going to buy the best organic compost for vegetable garden, ensure it is well made and has the right nutrients that the plants will need. You can choose to make your own at home. In this case, make sure to follow the tips we have mentioned above. They will help you get better at making the best compost for your garden. With the best compost, you will end up with an amazing vegetable garden.