We have a small area behind our condo that we have been trying to cultivate for several years to varying degrees of success. Given our relative lack of green space - OK, the almost complete lack - we don't have too many options open to us for garden choices. As well, the soil is not great for anything other than ornamental plants. One thing that I have been wanting to do is to start composting. This would help in several ways...
- It would improve the quality of the soil so that we might actually be able to successfully grow some vegetables. For some reason, the only fruits/vegetables that we have been able to grow have been tomatoes. Each year, we get a fairly healthy crop of them. We have tried a few other thing such as strawberries, but we really haven't had any luck. By using compost, we can raise the soil quality and hopefully get better results.
- It would reduce our trash waste. Instead of simply throwing away biodegradable food waste, we can put it into the compost. In the short time that I have been adding to the compost pile, I am amazed by the amount of things we throw away - apple cores, banana peals, wilted lettuce, tea bags, and other things that are easily composted but would normally just be thrown away. Sure, we're not going to reduce the landfills significantly, but why not return these things to the Earth in a positive, productive manner rather than simply discarding of it?
- The resulting vegetables - even if we are still only successful in producing tomatoes - will be that much more nutritious. By returning the nutrients to the soil via compost, the food grown in this enriched soil will absorb more of them. This means more nutritious, better tasting food for us!
- Potential money savings. Now, instead of purchasing potting/seed-starter soil, we can make our own! You know, it's funny but it seems that we never seem to have enough dirt. I mean, sure, we are surrounded by it. The grass grows in it and the garden is filled with it - as are the flower beds. When it comes time to start some seeds, though, there just doesn't seem to be any dirt to plant them in. The problem being that the dirt present in the garden is just that - dirt. It is a dull, dried out, almost gravely brown dirt. It is not the rich, dark, nutrient-laden soil that plants thrive on. As such, we find ourselves buying bags of potting soil. Early on in the compost project, this will still be necessary until we are able to produce enough decomposed material to replace it.
- It is a great learning experience for the family!
The other day, after an overnight rainstorm, I found several earthworms on my driveway. Had I left them there, they would have dried out and died with the coming sun or they would have been crushed by feet or tires. So, thinking of the benefits worms have on compost, I picked several of them up and added them to my compost pile. OK, so I am not on a 'Save The Earthworms' campaign, but when opportunity is staring you in the face, you might as well say hello! Such is the case with this compost project. We produce compost-able waste everyday. Why not put it to good use?