The nip in the Florida air might have you dreaming of spring weather and beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. Unfortunately, if you are one of the many Florida residents dealing with sandy soil, you have never let your dreams become reality. Today is the day that can all change with the addition of nutrient-rich soil created through composting, the natural process of using the air to decompose, or break down, organic material into soil.
Composting is a great way to not only add nutrient-rich soil to your gardens, but it’s also an environmentally sound way to reduce food waste. The idea of composting may seem a bit daunting, not to mention smelly, due to the use of food waste; however, neither is true. In fact, it is a simple process that anyone can do.
Steps to Begin Composting
- Choose a location on your property that is easily accessible. It is best for the area to receive equal amounts of sunlight and shade.
- Select a compost bin based on the allotted space. Visit your local hardware store, or garden center to choose from a variety of manufactured styles. The majority of units available for purchase are primarily cylinder shaped to allow for easy rotation. You can also build one yourself out of materials such as wooden pallets, wire fencing material, and masonry blocks.
- Gather food and natural scraps to add to the bin. It is important to add a variety of wet or green materials high in nitrogen and dry or brown materials high in carbon.
- Green Materials – plant-based kitchen scraps such as fruits and vegetables, grass clippings, egg shells, coffee grounds, plant trimmings.
- Brown Materials – fall leaves, hay, pine needles, shredded paper and newspaper, dryer lint, coffee filters, sawdust, twigs, and chipped branches.
- Layer green and brown materials, being sure to keep them moist by lightly watering and rotate frequently. If the compost bin does not rotate, be sure to till the compost using a pitchfork or shovel.
Compost bins that are functioning properly should smell of the earth, similar to forest smells. After six to eight weeks, you will start to notice black, organic soil forming, which can be used for potting soil, landscaping mulch, and lawn filler.
While composting might not be for everyone, if you decide to dive in and give it a try, we at Challenger Irrigation are here to help keep your freshly soiled flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, and updated lawn irrigated properly. If you are located in Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, and Citrus Counties, please call our office to schedule an appointment for us to visit your property today.