Is it better to buy compost or make your own at home?
However you come by your compost, having it around is super important if you have landscape or a garden at your home. Even if you just have a container garden on your porch or patio, this superfood for plants is invaluable.
To help you decide whether to make or buy compost, let’s look at what it is, why you need it and what it takes to make your own.
Why Composting Is Important
The primary reason you need compost is that Utah’s dirt stinks. It’s awful. It’s beyond awful, even. So, if you have any hope of growing anything, you have to give the soil a boost.
Compost is an exceptional source of soil nutrients without using potentially harmful chemical fertilizers, and it does something that fertilizer alone cannot do – it holds precious moisture in the soil. It also provides a natural deterrent to weeds and pests that would otherwise attach your landscape and garden plants.
Composting also helps reduce landfill-bound waste by approximately one-third, which is great for the environment. And, finally, the biological processes involved in composting add vital oxygen to our atmosphere.
How Do You Make Your Own Compost?
If you want to compost at home, you will find hundreds of websites anxious to help.
But, basically, you can start with a small patch of your yard – about three feet by three feet. Start with a thick layer of brown (carbon-rich) materials, such as shredded newspaper, straw, dead leaves or garden clippings. Add to that a thick layer of green (nitrogen-rich) materials, such as vegetable scraps from the kitchen or grass clippings. Now add a thin layer of garden soil topped with another thick layer of brown materials.
Wet the whole thing down and repeat the above steps until your pile is about three feet high.
Keep the pile moist at all times and, every couple of weeks, turn the pile from the center outward. Keep an eye on your pile because the decomposition process will heat up the materials and start a fire if you don’t keep it sufficiently wet down. You can toss all your kitchen scraps, yard clippings, etc. on the pile as you have them – just be sure to avoid any meat scraps or manure from carnivorous animals.
You can use a meat thermometer to test the temperature of your compost pile – ideal is 120 degrees. If it’s below that level, beef it up with more green materials. This should keep the bugs and weeds from setting in.
If you’re concerned about the smell – or if you’re afraid your compost pile might attract vermin – you can purchase special bins to hold your compost in a sealed environment. You’ll have to open and stir it up frequently, unless you buy the kind with a handle that allows you to “turn” your pile without opening the bin.
Why Should You Buy Compost Instead of Making It?
After reading the instructions above, most people do one of two things: they head for the yard and start building a compost pile or they head for the nearest garden center to buy pre-made compost.
If you’re in the latter group, dial up The Dirt Bag. For the low, low price of $134, we will deliver a cubic yard of Organic Mountain Compost to your door in a lovely, reusable bag. Or you can purchase bulk organic compost for a mere $64 per cubic yard (with minimum purchase – call for details).
With prices this low – and delivery to your door throughout the Salt Lake City area – you’ll have to reason to feel guilty when you buy compost instead of hassling with it yourself.