Compost is an invaluable resource for those gardening in the desert like us Arizonans. Our soil tends to be clay heavy, not very welcoming to gardens of food or flowers. Never fear! A simple adjustment using things you already have around the house can help.
1. Adds necessary nutrients
2. Compost aerates the soil and allows those little plant roots room to expand and create a stronger root system.
3. Compost enables the soil to retain water better and minimizes water run-off since the water can actually soak down into the soil. This means you can water less frequently and save money.
4. Reduces household waste by utilizing items you would normally toss.
Here’s how it works.
Compost is comprised of organic materials that are broken down by microorganisms until they turn to rich dark soil. Once compost has turned to soil, just mix it into your garden soil.
In order to have a successful pile, you need 4 things.
1. 50% Browns – mulch material like dry leaves, pine needles, twigs, nut shells
2. 50% Greens – veggie and fruit scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea bags
3. Water – keep the pile just moist enough to seem like a wrung out sponge.
4. Oxygen – turn the pile about once a week to keep it aerated. A shovel should do the trick.
DON’T ADD – greasy items, milk products, meat etc. Keep it plant based and you’ll be in good shape. For more info, check out the EPA’s compost info.
A properly composed compost pile should NOT smell. If it does, try adding a little more brown to the mix.
I recommend getting a compost bin from the City of Phoenix.