Rot That Stuff! Learning How to Compost Organically
Ages ago, when nobody knew anything about artificial fertilizers, gardeners knew one natural truth – natural products from the land when plowed back to the land made the soil richer and more productive. That is why the wise men of many ancient civilizations decided that the best way in which to get to gardeners and farmers to use healthy cultivating processes with a scientific basis was to make the ritual of it.
That is why in ancient times, the sowing Festival was a yearly tradition. Before that the land had to be prepared. This preparation time could be anywhere between 3 to 5 months beforehand. It had to be dug up and the soil made crumbly and friable. Weeds and big rocks had to be removed from the land. And after that, the land had to be fertilized with organic manure. This manure could either be fish manure, cattle manure or poultry manure.
Whatever the source was, it had to be a natural living source, full of essential nutrients, organic material good for the soil.
Even nowadays, there are many places all over the world where this procedure is still being followed, with organic manure being fed into the soil on special days of the year. The forefathers of these gardeners and farmers did that for centuries and found the benefits good. So they had a plan for success, which is still being used down the centuries.
So this book is going to tell you all about organic manures, how useful they are, and how soils can be improved by their addition.
If you really do not want to get your hands dirty with dung, a compost heap is going to be an excellent substitute for this natural organic material. You are going to make it with the help of all the vegetable refuse from the garden and from your house.
Composting is definitely not a new method of fertilizing the soil. For millions of years, people in the East, especially the Chinese, who were excellent gardeners and farmers, knew all about the value of composting and the use of earthworms in order to make natural fertilizer for their farmland.
How to Make a Compost Heap
A compost heap is normally going to be made up of organic waste from the garden, perhaps a farm and from the kitchen. Any organic material, except meat and processed pieces of leftover food are going to go straight into the compost heap.
So I am going to take you down the steps of compost making, to get rich naturally organic fertilizer for your garden.
Kitchen and garden waste goes straight into the compost heap
All you need is a nice corner in the garden, if you are going to make an open-air compost heap. You just need some huge containers. Put all the leaves , which fell this autumn, in these containers instead of burning them.
You can also add organic pieces of food, fruit peels, rinds eggshells and anything else you want to this compost. Add some natural organic manure from a farm. Add a little bit of water, stir and allow them to decompose naturally.
There are other ways in which you can make compost, especially if you are adding to the decomposing material every day from the garden, nor from the kitchen.
Testing for “Compost – Ripeness”
To test the condition of the compost, make a hole with a towel in the side of the heap. If it is slimy, sour smelling and wet, it is sensible to strip off the covering and turn the heap. Add more dry material and a sprinkling of lime.
If it is brittle and smells of “must” add dilute liquid manure or water in small quantities. You can also turn the heap during rain. The compost is ready to use when it has a pleasant earthy smell.
The garden paradise in which I lived as a child with possessive bossy head gardener and workers was in a mountainous area with very rich soil with very high quantities of red iron oxide. It also rained there are about 320 days in a year. So the gardener had sheltered his compost heap in the open, in a place where the rain could not do its worst.
There are also traditional compost heaps made on this particular plan, especially in the East, coming down from British times when wooden railway sleepers were easily available!
Organic Manure for Making Compost
For centuries, cow dung and other farm yard waste has been used as a natural fuel and a farm fertilizer in the East.
So if you have access to all this rich organic material, all you have to do is make a hole in one part of your garden. Fill that hole half way with this fertilizer. Wet it thoroughly. Then allow to rot in the open-air.
Of course it is going to stink. That is because the rotting process is going to be done naturally in the presence of sun, air, water and insects.
But slowly, you are going to get rich organic compost which is going to make your plants flourish, and cause the soil of the earth to be rejuvenated.
How to Make Leaf Compost
Next autumn, when you start to groan about having to rake in leaves, try thinking about natural leaf compost.
In many parts of the East, gardeners find it so easy to make huge piles of leaves, and set fire to them. My gardeners are definitely disgusted with me. That is because I ask them to dig deep holes and put the leaves in there in order to make leaf compost. They would rather set a match like their ancestors did.
I remember one of our gardeners as a child, who was very proud of his Garden. He used to come to the door at periodic intervals and declare loudly, “I am going to get such and such plant from the Base nursery or from some other garden, because now is the time to plant it.”
The tone was “I know better than you, because I am more experienced. So if you are going to be stubborn and you are going to say, no, do not plant that, plant something else, I am willing to argue!”
Nobody argued with him!
Once the declaration of intent was given, off he would march, proud of the fact that he was the ruler in His Garden. Well, this is the sort of possessive attitude a proud gardener has towards his garden!
The result was that the ensuing harvest was also amazing in quality and quantity and excellent. And that was because he knew all about the value of using every bit of organic material in order to make organic compost. He also knew all about the value of the farmyard produce, produced in our chicken run.
The pigeon manure from our pet pigeons – started with 2 pure white pouters and two white Fantail pigeons, and the number went up to more than 50, thanks to the interbreeding between themselves and with the wilder varieties present in that area – was of course in too small a quantity to be used in flower beds. We collected that dung from the pigeon-ery and then he showed us how to use them in pots and in a very diluted liquid form because they were very powerful in solid form. According to him, it was powerful enough to “burn”the plant.
Do not complain that you cannot get organic manures all the time when you can sow green manures and brought down your own vegetable refuse. All you need is a little bit of time, energy, inclination and incentive.
So now you know all about the power of natural manure, make it and use it. Live Long and Prosper!