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Composting Basics with Green Manures & Soil Amendments

Composting Basics with Green Manures & Soil Amendments

Making a compost bed is an easy garden essential! No matter what Greenhouse or different size garden plot you create, biodegradable trash, and compostable items will pile up, and could be helpful in the future as a low-cost soil amendment. 

Preferably, I'll select a location a far distance away from your garden, or greenhouse. Make walls out of old wood/logs, piled dirt mounds, or even rectangular hay bales can be stacked up around an existing pile. The negative side to compost piles can be the critters that infiltrate looking for food, but walls and fencing can prevent your pile from being spread out by a dog, cat, or other varmint. I prefer the edges of woods, or old stumps for compost piles because fungus and bacteria concentrations are already hard at work decomposing mulches, sticks, and green manures. Green manure is anything un-processed from your own property. Typically, leaves, sticks, unused soil, and rocks, logs, mushrooms, hay, green leaves, and grasses all can be used after they have sat in the compost pile for a couple of years. Even paper and cardboard, if left to rot and decompose long enough, bring great attributes to a living soil!

Meanwhile, Growers Solution can provide soil amendments that are ready to use such as worm castings ($4.25 per 1.5 cubic feet), Mushroom Compost ($25 a cubic yard), various Nu-Mix #1-4 potting soils that cost between ($10-$12 per 2.8 cubic foot) that all vary in consistency, texture, and nutrient content specific for different size plants. We sell hefty loads of Pine-fine ($24 a cubic yard) which is a better choice for a bark/mulch addition that helps with soil aeration and decomposes safely in the soil supplying fresh organic matter unlike other tree mulches. Generally, unprocessed mulch and sticks, considered green manures, and should sit in your compost pile for a couple of seasons before adding to a garden plot.

Even better amendment additions to your soil can be bought on Growers Solution's website! Bacterial and fungal additions such as Plant Success Granular, which promotes a "living soil and strong roots", cost about $19 a lb., and should be added during tillage, or transplant. Typically, emphasis on "endo & ecto Mycorrhizae" additions to backyard dirt are overlooked by beginner garden enthusiast, however, it is an integral part of high production of quality produce. Sof'n-Soil Gypsum makes its calcium available to plants far faster than limestone at $9 per forty pound bag.

Containers and raised beds benefit greatly from different size grains of vermiculite, or perlite that cost between $10 and $30 a bag. Depending on if your garden has too much sand or clay can determine the amendments your soil requires. Sand at $60 a cubic yard and Nu-mix potting soil helps aeration, water absorption by unpacking clay, and loam spaciously fluffing soil for roots to stretch out, and breathe during peak growing conditions. For tomatoes, or other water loving plants Soil Moist granules ($11.95) helps absorb and release water into the soil for gardeners who cannot water as often as certain plants require.