Improve your garden with kitchen scraps

 COMPOSTING: Eliminates unnecessary garbage collection, but will help to improve your garden soil.
COMPOSTING: Eliminates unnecessary garbage collection, but will help to improve your garden soil.

Converting kitchen vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and more into compost not only eliminates unnecessary garbage collection, but will help to improve your garden soil so that plants will be strong and healthy.

If you do not have a compost bin or heap, just dig a hole in the garden, fill it with kitchen scraps, sprinkle a cup of dolomite over it, lightly water, and cover again with soil. After a couple of weeks or so earthworms will have the soil workable, giving you a high-quality humus. Underground composting also works well when establishing new garden areas. Just mark each spot as you dispose of your scraps so that you do not dig there again. Once the designated area has been entirely composted, you can set up your new garden.

To compost larger quantities of refuge you will need to build a compost heap. Clear a patch of ground in an out-of-the way area of your garden. Remove grass and level if necessary. Compost should always be built on level soil and never on concrete. Scatter a few bricks placed edge down within the cleared area to allow air to circulate into the heap.

Put down your first layer of materials, grass clippings, garden waste, kitchen scraps and so on in the middle of the cleared area. Next dust over a layer of fowl or cow manure and dolomite or organic blood and bone to a depth of one centimetre and then sprinkle with water. Repeat this procedure until your pile is built. Turn the pile over with a fork each week to speed up decomposition.

A compost pile about one metre high should break down into humus after two months in summer, but longer in winter. Add your compost to garden soil in spring and autumn at the rate of one kilogram per square metre. Alternatively, add a five-centimetre covering of compost over garden beds. It can also be used for container plants, raising seedlings and mulching around growing plants.

Mature compost can also be applied as a liquid tea. If you give it some thought, it makes a lot of sense to give your plants a liquid boost. Particularly during dry weather when plants are starved both for food and water. Since most nutrients in compost dissolve quickly and readily in water, they can be quickly distributed to needy plant roots.

To make compost tea, add about a 10-centimetre layer of compost to a bucket of water. Allow it to stand for 48 hours, stirring occasionally, then strain through coarsely-woven cloth, such as burlap. Apply the undiluted tea to the soil over the plant roots, or spray or sprinkle over plant foliage. Repeat every two weeks for flowers and vegetables and monthly for shrubs.