Creating the Best Soil

Interestingly, the first structure we built after our house was three compost bins.

The organic master gardening course gave us a new and deeper understanding of recycling in our world. What we learned brought so much new information to us about creating compost and the different ways to utilize compost through compost extracts, compost tea, and EM.

We realized again our need to increase our composting efforts to increase the volume of compost to be able to have at least one-quarter of an inch to layer on all the garden beds we had created. We had started our compost bins using worm beds with red wigglers, and we found they have a voracious appetite.

So, how did this change the way we were currently doing things? The first change we implemented, instead of burning fall garden debris, we bought a shredder. This spring, we shredded all our tree pruning and bags of leaves that were leftover from last fall. We created two large trailers full of compost material. We decided to be more diligent in recycling everything from our kitchen scraps, black newsprint, and shredding all uncoloured paper from the office. We asked a local arborist to bring wood chips to us, which saves him time because he doesn’t drive to the local landfill for disposal. We asked our local organic coffee house for coffee grounds, which is an excellent way to up the nitrogen levels of the compost.

We have started growing cover crops on all resting soils, which increases the microbe populations of the soil between plantings. Cover crops also improve rain absorption into the soil. We, then, use some of that green foliage in our compost bins to balance the dry materials we add. Also, we started adding rock dust to the compost to boost the micro-minerals in the end product. We have neighbours that bring us leaves in the fall that we shred and keep for the winter months to help with layering the kitchen scraps. Some of the shredded leaves are used as leaf mould cover for the strawberries, garlic, and asparagus plants, which become soil nutrition for next year’s crops.

David Suzuki stated, “Rethinking your relationship with waste is one of the most powerful ways you can help stop climate change. Canadians produce an average of 837 kilograms of non-hazardous solid waste in 2006, all of which goes straight into the landfill. Landfills produce about one-quarter of Canada’s methane emissions -and methane is a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide.”

By merely creating compost in your backyard, you can reduce your weekly garbage by at least thirty percent. It can be as simple as digging a hole in your back yard and throwing in your kitchen scraps (no animal products), some shredded paper, rock dust (which reduces smells and adds needed minerals), and you can use an activator if you wish. Turn it occasionally to keep some aeration, and add some regular soil into the heap, and you will be surprised how much great soil you can create for your yard.

Research shows that composted soil holds water better, thereby reducing your watering needs, and it is teeming full of microorganisms and rich, black humus.