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Garden Guy -- How to grow great compost

by Garden Guy Dave Owens, Special to azfamily.com

azfamily.com

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Updated Monday, May 14 at 7:59 PM

PHOENIX -- I call compost “black gold” because it is the most vital component in my garden. Composting is a great way to recycle kitchen and yard waste, reduce landfill waste and is an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Making compost is a fairly simple process. Start right on the bare earth by adding both brown and green materials. Materials such as leaves, paper, grass clippings, ground-up tree limbs, and newspaper are just a few items that can and should be added to your compost pile.

Keep an even mixture of “greens” or dried material alternated with layers of food scraps like vegetable peels/rinds, coffee grounds, corn cobs, etc. You can even add your dryer lint and cardboard (shred it to avoid matting). Hay in between the layers of your compost will give your mixture the added nitrogen it needs.

Add water to keep your compost mixture as wet as a sponge. Turn your compost pile every few weeks with a shovel or pitchfork.

Eventually microorganisms break everything down into a dark, sweet-smelling, nutrient-rich, organic matter called compost.

Compost can be used as mulch, fertilizer and as a weed barrier.

Install 2 inches to 4 inches of compost around the drip line of your trees and shrubs. Do not put it against the trunks of your trees and plants.

Adding compost to everything frequently, along with foliar feeding my entire garden every six weeks with Extreme Juice is how I got the results you see at my Channel 3 garden – and how I’ve been so successful growing just about anything I’ve ever tried to grow!

For more information, check out my website, www.gardenguy.com and my books: "Extreme Gardening;" "How to Grow Organic in the Hostile Deserts," "The Garden Guy: A Seasonal Guide to Organic Gardening in the Desert Southwest" and "The Garden Guy’s Southwest Bug Guide."

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