Fertilizing Soil in the Fall: Applying Organic Compost and More

fall gardening

The fall is the time to get a jump on applying soil amendments, including organic compost and worm castings. Did you know? Getting full benefit from natural soil amendments can take weeks or even months. Compost you apply in the spring might not be fully activated until mid-summer. The soil in the spring stays muddy for quite a while. Dryer soil in the fall is easier to work. You will have tons of garden and yard work to do in the spring. Getting your soil partially ready in the fall frees you up for spring chores. What to Apply to the Soil

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Making Compost: Differences Between Vermicomposting, Anaerobic and Aerobic Composting

Did you know that there are different types of composting? Aerobic composting and vermicomposting require ventilation. Anaerobic composting works without oxygen. How do you make compost? Which type is best for households, farms, businesses, institutions, and schools? How Composting Works Composting takes advantage of the natural process of decomposition. When leaves drop on the ground in the fall, Mother Nature breaks them down. Ants and other insects, bacteria, and fungi do their work. Soon, nothing remains except brown matter, which becomes part of the topsoil. This rich organic matter nourishes plants, helps regulate water saturation, and creates air pockets.

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Planting with Organic Compost: How to Use Worm Castings

The spring is the time to start using your compost from your worm bin. Your red worms have been busy all year eating kitchen scraps and creating valuable fertilizer. How do you apply worm castings to your garden and lawn? Can you use compost on seeds and bulbs? How much compost do you need? Harvesting Compost You need to retrieve the valuable worm castings (worm poop) from your vermicomposting bin. If you have a tray-based composter, harvest from the lower trays. If you have been feeding the worms in the top tray, there will be few worms in the lower trays. Remove the lower trays and dump them into a wheelbarrow, bucket, or sack. For other types of composters, harvest finished compost from the bottom. See our page on harvesting compost. The fresher the worm

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Revive Your Vermicomposting Bin in the Spring

As winter fades into spring, vermicomposting bins will start to warm up. Warmer temperatures make the composting worms more active. If they froze outdoors during the winter, new baby worms might hatch. Spring is the perfect time to refresh and renew your composting bin. Your spring gardening will require fertilizer and the worms have made it for you! What can you expect? Do you need to add bedding or water? How can you tell if you need to order more worms? And is that composter still serving you? Gather Information Look inside your composting bin and dig around. Do you see any living worms? Do you see tiny brown specks? These specks are probably worm eggs. Baby worms should be hatching soon! You should see black, crumbly material. This is worm poop, called “black gold”, “worm castings”,

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Use Compost to Grow “Starts” in the Spring

Compost helps starts grow strong! Gardeners often grow “starts” in the late winter and early spring. These are tiny plants grown from seed. Planting starts before the spring growing season gives your plants a boost. Later, you can plant the juveniles outdoors. How do you make starts, and how does compost help? How much compost should you use? Where can you get compost? Which Plants Should You Start? Peppers, tomatoes, onions, head lettuce, leeks, eggplants, and cucumbers are more likely to survive and thrive if they are started indoors. Coniferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli are also great for starts. You can buy seedlings in the gardening store; however, growing your own from seed is cheaper. Store-bought seedlings are available in only a few of the most popular varieties. You will have a much greater variety of seeds to choose from. Also, you have total control over the little plants’ conditions. Therefore,

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Pros and Cons of Composting with Worms

If you are thinking about composting with worms, you will need to weigh the pros and cons first. Some folks start composting to reduce trash and help save the environment. Others are motivated by the end product: nutrient-rich compost for gardens, indoor plants, and lawns. Parents and teachers engage youngsters with a vermicomposting project. Whatever your reason, composting worms have both pluses and minuses. The most common concerns are waste reduction, odor, time, and cost. Reduces Waste Composting diverts organic waste from landfills and incinerators. You can compost food trimmings, leftovers, spoiled food, coffee grounds, compostable napkins, compostable takeout containers and utensils, garden trimmings, and certain agricultural waste. Pros: Composting requires sorting out organic matter from the trash. Sorting is easily accomplished by tossing vegetation into a container. Unsorted trash develops a terrible odor, due to anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. Foul odors attract pests. Collecting trash requires time, fuel, trucks, and expense. Landfills lack enough oxygen for proper composting. They are prone to buildup of flammable methane gas. Garbage is essentially entombed for eternity. Burning mixed trash is an utter waste of valuable organic matter. Incineration creates air pollution and toxic ash. Cons: Participants need instructions on what can be composted and how to separate it. Unlike recyclables, compostables start to break down quickly. Collection is highly time-sensitive at room temperature. Stored compostables should be refrigerated or frozen. Organic matter that has already been mixed in with other trash is difficult to separate. Composting Worms’ Odor You might be …

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Vermicomposting with Worms Grows More Food

Simply by doing what comes naturally, worms are helping humans. These small invertebrates eat organic matter and excrete fertilizer. This process improves soil quality and increases crop yields. Farmers, institutions, and householders have learned how to harness the power of composting with worms. Vermicomposting is cooler and faster than composting without worms. How is composting with worms helping smaller farmers grow more food for less money? Vermicomposting is gaining popularity among smaller commercial farmers worldwide. These farmers have healthier soil, and healthier crops, and produce more food per acre. Better crops mean more produce to trade or sell. Small farmers become more self-sufficient when worms help them. Cost of fertilizer goes down. Since worms replenish themselves, overhead is lower. Vermicomposting has become especially important in third world countries, pulling farmers out of poverty. Vermicomposting Scale How does vermicomposting scale up? A small worm bin

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What are the Benefits of Composting?

Composting is the natural process of breaking down organic materials into fertilizer. In our modern world, unwanted items go into the trash by default. Trash is stored in a landfill or incinerated. This process is an utter waste of resources. Composting has many benefits for the household and the earth. Finished compost also creates free fertilizer for the garden. Let’s find out the benefits of composting and, more specifically, composting with worms. Household Composting Benefits You know how household trash has a bad

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How Do Red Worms Eat and Make Compost?

Red worms love to eat. Composting enthusiasts sometimes wonder how red worms eat. These simple creatures have no teeth. How do composting worms convert kitchen scraps into valuable compost? How do they travel through the soil? What kinds of foods do they like? Does the worm need any help from other creatures to prepare the food? Uncle Jim explains how Red Worms eat, and how to prepare kitchen scraps that are easy to digest. Types of Foods for Composting Worms Red worms love fruits and vegetables from your kitchen and garden. Save your left-over,

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Vermicomposting: How to Compost with Worms

Composting kitchen and garden scraps using worms is faster than without worms. Adding a bag of composting worms results in richer compost. This dark compost is treasured by gardeners because it contains soil nutrients and living bacteria. Composting with worms is called “vermicomposting.” Vermicomposting is easy, and it’s a fun hobby too! Children and adults embrace their wiggly helpers as working pets. Vermicomposting is also great for the environment. Instead of tossing out scraps vegetation, you create free fertilizer. Let’s find out the benefits of vermicomposting, and how to get started. Why Compost with Worms In nature, worms help break down organic matter into simpler components. They are nature’s recyclers! Worms eat discarded vegetation and excrete a dark material called “humus” (worm poop). Humus contains valuable

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