COMPOST

By John Geib, Master Gardener

Temperatures are cooler, football season is starting.  Fall is coming.  Now is the time to start thinking about your compost pile for next year.  Compost is the best soil amendment for our yards and gardens here in west Texas.  Compost will help your soil retain moisture after intermittent rainfall.  It also allows for rain to soak into the soil and not puddle as much.  Compost can help bring our highly alkaline soil closer to the perfect pH of 7 while also adding some fertilization benefits.  With all these benefits, we should all be making compost for our gardens.

Compost is a simple process that allows for an orderly planned decomposition of material.  The material is broken into two types: Browns and Greens.  Browns are materials high in carbon.  These include paper products, dried plant material, dryer lint, vacuum cleaner contents, pine needles and cones.  This also includes the very abundant fall crop of leaves that are about to fall.  This brown material will need to be mixed with “green” material that is high in nitrogen.  This includes: fresh grass and yard cuttings, food scraps, hair, fur, coffee grounds, stale pet food, vegetarian animal manure, and blood or bone meal.  This material when mixed properly and moistened will decompose without smell in a reasonably fast process.  The end result will be a beautiful rich humus to add to your flower and vegetable beds.  This process will take about 4-5 months. Which means that compost started now will be ready for you to use just in time for your spring planting.

Composting in the Permian Basin is different than what you find on the web.  To learn how, join us on October 23rd @ 6 pm or October 24th @ 9 am at the Odessa West Texas Food Bank.   Go to westtexasgardening.org to register for either of these classes. There is a $10 charge.

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