Save the Earth with Black Gold
Want the dirt on how to level up your green thumb? Keep carbon in the soil by composting!
Today I want to talk dirty to you. One of the filthiest things to discuss involves digging up some dirt on this situation. Previously, we discussed all different kinds. From silty to sandy, the top suggestion to improve your soil was to add organic compost. But what on Earth is “organic compost”?
Ideally, our soils should teem with orgies of microbial activity and once-living materials in various states of decomposition. The tried and true way to enrich this natural process involves compost amendments. Lovingly referred to as “black gold,” today we will learn what compost is, why it’s essential, and how to make your own.
What is compost?
So you want to learn about compost, huh? Composting might seem enigmatic, but it need not be that way. Stated, composting is the process of gathering decaying food and plants, recycling them, and using the resulting decomposed matter to enrich your soil.
You considered this stuff to be trash anyway, so why not make some use of it? What was once an untapped resource can now be put to use! Some cities go so far as to incorporate food waste collection and composting into a municipal service.
Be sure to balance your browns and greens. What’s the difference between “browns and greens” in a compost pile? Brown refers to materials with large amounts of carbon — think dry, woody plant material like leaves. The heavy-carbon materials become an energy source, and they help dry the mixture.
Green means the materials high in nitrogen and protein — like your kitchen scraps. These materials feed a symbiotic ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and more. Seasoned gardeners tend to follow the ratio of three parts brown to 1 part green by volume.