Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
Compost Fertilizer -
Fertilizer made from compost is an excellent source of organic material (providing it is organically prepared). It is free, easy to find (on your land or from your kitchen), and full of nutrients and micro-organisms.
It is also a fantastic way of disposing of what would otherwise be seen as waste. Compost fertilizer is my own preferred method of producing the best crops from my organic vegetable garden.
A compost barrel or container can be bought from any garden centre. You can also make your own.
Compost - how to make your own? First make sure you've picked a good place for your composter, somewhere where it will get some sun each day (if possible). The heat of the sun will speed up the decomposition process.
Use a tried and tested way to make a compost heap by using wooden pallets (and it's a great way to recycle as well).
Here's how you can do it.
Build the Best Compost Bin or Compost Barrel
- 4 wooden container pallets (make sure these are untreated wood pallets - which is almost always the case because these are considered short-life products). The sort that goods/items are stacked on to be moved around on forklift trucks (see image at top of page)
- 8 (or 2) metal or strong wooden stakes 4' - 4'6" long
Stand one of your pallets on an edge, making sure that the top side of it (where all the slats are) is facing towards what will be the inside of your compost heap.
Drive a stake down through the centre of the pallet about 6" from one end, and into the ground. Do the same with a second stake at the other end of the pallet. This pallet is now secure.
NB: Many garden centres sell a tough lightweight plastic coated steel tube with tapered end. I recently bought a pair for about $5.00 (US) each (4'6").
At a right angle, stand another pallet against one upright edge of the already secured pallet and secure it in the same way. Do the same with the two remaining pallets to form a box.
You now have a good container for your compost materials. When the time comes to transfer compost to your soil just lift one of the pallets up and over the stakes, giving you easy access. Just slide it back over the stakes when done.
You can of course just use stakes for one pallet, and nail the others together. Personally I prefer the flexibility of being able to move the pallets around easily should I need to.
I built one recently using two pallets and some old fencing. I added a lid, also built from old fencing - recommended for keeping the rain off your compost and for keeping heat in. The fencing had already been organically weather-proofed. That saved me some work.
What to Use for Your Compost? How to Make Compost?
- Grass, leaves, and clippings
- Tea bags/leaves
- Straw, hay etc
- Cut flowers
- Vegetable waste e.g. skins and stalks
- Fruit waste e.g. cores and skins
- Crushed eggshells
- Shredded paper
- Wood ashes (high in alkaline so dont go overboard with it)
- Lint from your dryer (yes, it's considered 'brown' material versus 'green' and it will compost over time)
- Animal manure (organic as mentioned above). Do not add fresh manure to your compost. Let it age a few days as fresh manure is so high in nutrients it will kill off organisms such as bacteria and worms
Please note that your compost fertilizer will take a few months to decompose sufficiently to be added to your soil. An activator can speed up the process though.
All composters need to air to flow through the mix of materials for decomposition to occur efficiently. You can buy a tumbling compost bin, but you can simply use a shovel or a pitch fork to 'turn' the mix and allow air to flow through.
If you have not prepared your compost, then good organic compost fertilizer can be bought from garden centres and online suppliers. Organic vegetable gardening needs to use organic compost fertilizer to produce the best results.
One little miracle worker that is essential for healthy soil can also produce quality compost for you by recycling your food waste. Use the information on What Do Worms Eat? for an excellent compost-assist.
What's New: Grow, Shop, Cook and Eat Organic
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