Part of transitioning from summer to fall is the influx of new neighbors. Inevitably the question asked is, “How do you get flowers to grow in Tx?”
My answer is always soil, soil, soil! There is a huge difference between soil and dirt. Dirt is what your home comes with. Soil is dirt with added compost, enriched by natural nutrients, seasonal rain, and the menagerie of life that comes to live in organically enriched soil. Therefore, we need to revisit our lessons in composting 101. What is home-grown compost?
1. All your vegetable, fruit scraps, coffee, paper filters, tea bags, and egg shells from your daily food prep. This includes peelings, cores, or those spoiled veggies at the back of your crisper drawer! I keep an attractive compost bucket on my kitchen counter that I empty almost daily. My sister opts for a plastic container in her garage fridge for collecting kitchen scraps.
2. All your shredded paper excluding those annoying envelopes with the plastic, see-through address panels.
3. All your newspapers, cardboard, and used paper towels. Instead of that horrible black plastic commercial weed clothe, I line new beds with card board and newspaper. I then add compost and top with mulch. Shredded newspaper can also be directly added to your composting materials.
4. All your’s and your neighbor’s bags of raked leaves. In the fall, I ask for my neighbor’s full leaf bags sitting on the side of the road for trash pick up. I also go up and down the street filling my wheel barrow with the leaves gathered near the gutters and those repeatedly run over by passing cars! I use dried leaves in place of expensive mulch. What is left over, I save to continuously add through out the year to the compost pile.
5. All your grass clippings. If your mower has a bag attachment or your worker who mows for you throws grass clippings away, ask for them to be put in your compost pile.
6. All your garden trimmings from dead heading and other upkeep. However, avoid composting weeds so that weed seeds don’t re-sprout in your beds. Also, do not put yard cuttings that are diseased into the compost pile.
7. All your daily harvest of chicken droppings from your sand bottom coop. If you do not own chickens, you can easily purchase bags of such organic fertilizers like turkey, chicken, or other foul from organic nurseries.
Don’t waste your money on those turning barrel compost contraptions. They break down and are not big enough. Purchase some heavy duty trash barrels with snap on lids. Drill holes in the sides and on top to allow for rain water to penetrate. I have four lined up at the side of my house away from the vision of passing cars. One is completed compost, the rest are compost being “cooked” in stages.
If you do not have a place for barrels, just designate a corner of your yard and pile on the golden compost “trash!” You’ll be amazed how little trash you actually have for municipality pickup each week, you will be rewarded with golden soil, and be proud of yourself for doing your part to save our precious environment.
I can’t finish this post without recommending my favorite compost turning tool. I used to use a pitchfork, but this tool was recommended to me by Central Texas Gardener and it has been a game-changer!
What’s keeping you from composting?
The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty! Try to be more like the ground.