EcoGuard Fast Natural – Compost Starter
The process of decomposition is essential for the recycling of nutrients for good quality compost in order to grow healthier and more productive plants.
When making compost in our gardens we imitate nature and ensure that our gardens are healthy and more productive. Compost returns nutrients to the soil, increases the soil’s ability to hold water and air, and prevents erosion by binding the soil together. About 80% of the kitchen scraps we throw away each day can be turned into compost, thus reducing waste, recycling valuable resources and enriching the soil. Composting is a cheap and hygienic way of converting waste into a clean-smelling substance that will improve the soil and make any garden flourish.
Compost is formed in nature all the time as plants and animals die and decompose. This natural compost is generally called humus. Decomposition involves the breakdown of plant and animal remains into simpler components. As a result nutrients, which are essential for plant growth, are released into the soil. Decomposition is brought about by the action of decomposers which include bacteria, fungi, and earthworms. The process of decomposition is essential for the recycling of nutrients.
WHAT TO USE IN MAKING COMPOST
Most organic (of plant or animal origin – e.g. manure) materials that will rot or decay easily are suitable for composting.
non-woody garden prunings
vegetable peelings and leaves
fruit peelings and cores
tea leaves and tea bags
stale bread (but NO meat scraps)
paper and cardboard
sawdust and woodshavings
Materials which you should not add to a compost heap:
woody garden clippings
rose cuttings and other cuttings with thorns
garden wastes sprayed with pesticides
toilet waste or septic tank sludge
diseased animal carcasses
anything that does not decompose
BUILDING A COMPOST HEAP
Remember that compost can be made in many different ways, and these are only some general guidelines. In fact, nature does it without any help from people, but EcoGuard cuts composting time by 50% or more!
* Dig a good sized hole or trench into the ground for the compost heap. The size will depend upon the amount of compost you want to make.
* Mix the organic material well and chop up any big pieces – do not add layers of only one material, such as grass cuttings or leaves to the compost heap.
* Start by putting down about 20 pounds of mixed organic material, add ¼ cup EcoGuard and sprinkle lightly with water.
* You can also add soil to the growing heap as many of the organisms that it contains will multiply and help the decomposing process. Earthworms in particular are valuable members of the compost pile. They eat plant material and produce worm castes that are very rich in nutrients. They also help to mix the compost ingredients and put air into the heap thereby speeding up the process of decay.
* Continue building the heap in layers of about 20 pounds. The last layer should be ¼ cup of EcoGuard, loose soil, dry grass, leaves, or sawdust, as this will keep smells in and not attract flies.
TURNING THE COMPOSTING PILE
After one week, you will feel the heat generated by the decomposition process. After a few weeks the heap will have cooled down and this means that it should be turned and allowed to heat up again. The heat kills the weed seeds as well as insect and fly larvae.
Turning encourages decomposition and speeds up the formation of compost. The time between `turnings’ of the heap depends on the speed at which decomposition takes place, and this in turn depends on the ingredients in the heap, and the weather.
WATERING THE COMPOSTING PILE
Keep the heap moist, but not waterlogged as this inhibits decomposition and will make the compost smell. If it does get too wet, add absorbent material such as sawdust, straw, or manure, and turn the whole pile.
USING COMPOST IN YOUR GARDEN
Compost is mature and ready to use when it looks crumbly and has an earthy smell. It can then be dug into the topsoil of garden beds or spread as a mulch under plants trees and bushes. Compost also makes a very good potting mix for house plants or seedlings to help grow healthy, strong young plants.
EcoGuard comes in a 1 lb. package – enough to decompose hundreds of pounds of waste matter. Instructions included.
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