How To Compost To Save Money & Grow More

How Composting Can Save Money While Making You Healthier
By Jonathan White, environmental scientist
How do you view composting? Do you see it merely as a way to prevent your garbage can from getting smelly? Or perhaps as a way to reduce the quantity of garbage being trucked to an incinerator or being dumped into landfill each week?
While these are certainly valid reasons to compost — it’s not the complete picture.
I take a different view than most when it comes to compost. For me, composting is a valuable way of building valuable nutrients that will feed me and my family one day.

I create compost as a way of collecting nutrients in one form (waste), and turning them into another form (food). I only use compost on my vegetable gardens which means that composting is an integral part of my whole food production system.
The typical consumer buys food from a grocery store or market, consumes it and then throws away the waste. This is simply buying nutrients, taking what you need for that precise moment, and ignoring the remainder. It’s a nutrient flow that only flows in one direction.
My goal is to keep the nutrients within my property where I can capitalize on them. By re-using the nutrients, I don’t have to buy them for a second time — which saves money. It may seem strange to think of nutrients in this way, yet all organic materials contain nutrients. My goal is to get those nutrients out of the form they are in and into a form that is useful to me and my family.
To put it in a different way; composting is a way to create a nutrient cycle within your property. We’re part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are (for a brief time) in a useful form. Then they return to the earth and slowly make their way into another useful form where we can consume them again.
This cycle can go on indefinitely. Of course, there will be some lost nutrients, but with a little diligence you’ll be surprised at how much compost you can create — and how many valuable nutrients you can recycle.
My composting system is large because I have a few large vegetable gardens. My belief is that the size of your vegetable garden should be determined by how much compost you can create, and not merely by the size of your backyard. To run a rich, high yielding vegetable garden you need to have some sort of soil conditioning plan.
The best thing for your soil is a generous layer of good compost on the surface a few times per year.
If you create your own compost from the organic waste that you generate day-to-day, then you have a vegetable garden that is self-sustainable. Once it’s set up, it will never need nutrients in the form of commercial fertilizers. You’ll have established a flow of nutrients, and your nutrient-store will grow bigger year after year.
Applying compost to your garden has a very positive effect on your soil structure and fertility. With good soil structure and plenty of organic material, you’ll release nutrients that were previously unavailable to your plants. You’ll be speeding up the flow of nutrients, thus increasing your yield significantly.
Your soil will become alive and healthy with micro-organisms and soil bacteria that are beneficial to creating the perfect conditions for plant growth. Your vegetables will contain all the essential nutrients in the correct proportions, giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally.
Composting is very easy once you make it part of your every day life. A small container on your kitchen counter to collect scraps and a daily trip to the compost bin is all it takes. It’s a small effort for huge rewards. The golden rule in making compost is never to have large clumps of a single type of material. Thin layers of hot and cold materials work best.
Examples of cold materials include leaves, shredded newspaper and dried grass clippings. Hot materials include fresh grass clippings, weeds, discarded soft plants and kitchen scraps.
By making composting part of your daily routine and planting a high yield, ecological garden, you can literally save thousands of dollars per year. This is possible because you won’t have to keep buying your nutrients over and over again. You buy them once, hold onto them and then convert them into nutritious, organic food for your family. It’s that simple!

About the Author:

Jonathan White is a self-employed environmental consultant and landscape designer. He is the author of Food4Wealth, a program that shows you exactly how to set up and maintain a high-yield, low-maintenance vegetable garden.

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