Compost (a.k.a. humus), is decaying plant matter that has taken on the characteristics of soil. Compost is known to be a natural, highly nutritious soil additive that, when combined with denser soils such as clay, provides key nutrients that really help plants to grow and prosper.
When I was growing up, my father cordoned off the far corner of our suburban Maryland backyard and used it as a compost pile. Every week, we’d toss grass clippings into the pile, and during the autumn months we’d add leaves. Kitchen scraps went into the pile as well, including eggshells, broccoli stems, fruit and veggie peels, and watermelon rinds.
Every spring around the end of April, my father would turn over the compost pit to reveal the rich humus underneath. He would then take the humus and till it into our small suburban garden at the top of our driveway. When late May came around, it was time for setting out the tomato plants.
Our tomatoes always grew quickly into large, healthy fruits. Aided by the rich compost, the roots of the plants were able to absorb the nutrients, leading to a healthier and more productive crop. In turn, this led to a wonderful summertime tradition; BLTs where one delicious tomato slice covers the entire slice of bread.
If you inspect a compost pile during the summertime, you’ll find that it gets hotter the further down you stick your hand in it. This is because decaying plant matter gives off heat, which in turn aids in breaking down the plant matter further. This process also gives the area around the compost pile that distinctive earthy smell.
Because more people are discovering the benefits of using compost as a highly nutritious soil additive, some ingenious consumer products have come into the marketplace that allow individuals to make compost quickly, easily, and without much effort. Compostbins.com is a great resource to buy compost tumblers and bins that you can set out on your patio or deck. Some of these composting devices have become advanced enough that they’ve cut out the odor and the need to turn the pile over every now and then.
Greenfeet.com sells a composting unit I never thought possible; an indoor composting bin. The NatureMill Pro Automatic Composter is a fully sealed unit that does all the work for you and is totally odor-free. It’s quite an ingenious product, and eliminates the need to go outside to the backyard compost pile to dump your veggie peels and fruit rinds. Lastly, PlanetNatural.com ns sells a wide variety of funky, hip compost bins and tumblers, and even a “pet poo” composter. Not sure about the pet poo thing, but if you want an out-of-the-ordinary composting bin, you might want to check out this website.
If you enjoy planting and you’re looking for a nutritious soil additive, you should definitely consider investing in a composting bin or tumbler. You truly can’t buy better dirt than this.