Whether you are planting a vegetable garden to save money on produce or have prolific flower beds, you know the importance of having quality soil. Without good soil, your vegetables won't be as plentiful and your blooms won't be as full. Good soil is the key to a nice productive garden, but you can only get there with compost.

What is compost?

Compost is organic waste that decomposes into a rich material. The organic material is then combined with your existing soil to enrich it. 

What is the purpose of composting?

Composting not only helps you dispose of organic waste in an eco-friendly way, but it also helps to improve your existing soil by adding vital nutrients. 

Adding compost to soil also improves its ability to drain at a proper rate. Clay soil doesn't drain, but sandy soil doesn't hold water well. The addition of compost improves both types of soil and creates healthy soil for plants to grow in. 

What types of things can be added to a compost bin?

Experienced composters know that there are two types of things you can put into a compost bin. They are:

Browns. This is the nickname that gardeners give for carbon-rich materials that you can add to a compost bin. Browns are wood-based items like twigs, fall leaves, paper products, straw, sawdust, and dryer lint. Pine needles can also be added but in moderation. They can alter the pH of a compost pile. 

Greens. The other type of organic material you can add to a compost pile is greens, or nitrogen-rich items. Greens are usually wet items like vegetable peels, grass clippings, manure, and eggshells. In spite of their color, used coffee grounds are greens when you compost. 

Experts suggest layering equal amounts of your browns and greens in your compost pile to get a nice balance of nitrogen- and carbon-rich materials. 

Are there things that can't be composted?

Meat scraps, bones, and dairy products should not be composted. They only attract rodents and other pests. Likewise, diseased produce should not be composted as it can destroy the integrity of the compost bin and spread the disease to the rest of the compost. 

How do you add compost to your garden?

If you have existing garden beds, you can top-dress them with compost each spring to replenish the nutrients in the soil. If you are digging new beds, you can mix your compost with the existing soil you dig to create a rich, loamy soil that your plants will like. 

Compost can help your garden be bigger, better, and more beautiful. Start composting today.

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