Category: Compost

How to Make Instant Garden Beds

A common problem when just starting a garden is dealing with the fact that we’ve not had time to condition the soil, fostering it into something heaving with fertility. Or, maybe we just aren’t that far into gardening yet anyway and don’t know what to do. Basically, it seems we are left with the option of using what we have and hoping for the best, or we can spend a […]

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Straw Bale Gardens

What do straw, paint brushes and the human blood circularity system have in common?     The answer is capillaries, very narrow, long tubes. It is this physical characteristic of straw which gives its remarkable ability to become the soil of a garden bed. Large amounts of water and nutrients can be held within the straws capillaries. This is an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This conversion from straw to soil makes […]

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Common Composting Problems and Solutions for the Beginning Composter

Composting is standard practice on any permaculture site. This is the case for several reasons. It creates a closed waste cycle between vegetable scraps and vegetable production, often with the added bonus (an in-between stop) of animal fodder. It helps to rebuild or maintain healthy, balanced soil by feeding the soil life and creating a steady replenishment of nutrients, and nutrient-rich soil makes for nutrient-rich food. In simple terms, composting […]

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The Top Composting Toilet Designs

One of the most unsustainable aspects of our current civilization is related to how we deal with our own waste. For thousands of years, agrarian civilizations have understood that the fertility that one takes from the land in the form of crops, must be returned to the land in a similar manner. Both animal and human wastes have been used by indigenous and peasant cultures to maintain the sacred balance […]

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A Primer on Creating Soil

Good agriculture depends on good soil. The problem over the past 10,000 years of our human attempt to live off the land (and especially during the last sixty years or so), is that crops take nutrients from the soil, and without proper husbandry, soil fertility will deplete. The “pseudo-solution” offered by the Green Revolution has been to import petroleum-based fertilizers to make up for our lack of stewardship of the […]

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Composting Toilet Talk

Imagine the world before the invention of the toilet. While this may seem long ago, the truth is that humans have existed on Earth for a longer period of time without toilets than with them. As one may imagine, all matter that came from the Earth as food, went directly back to the Earth in a different form. Nonetheless, the environment didn’t suffer but naturally reincorporated all of the matter […]

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How to Make a Compost Water Heater

Everyone loves hot water in the home, but the ecological cost of long, hot showers powered by fossil-fueled water heaters adds some guilt to those long hours in the bathroom. What if you could have a huge supply of hot water heated by the compost pile in your garden. Instead of greenhouses gasses, the byproduct of your hot water would be more fertile soil. The Ecological Cost of Heating Water […]

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The Many Types of At-Home Composting

So you’re interested in making your own compost, but you’re overwhelmed by all of the different methods. Or maybe you’re not sure if there’s a method that will work for you. You’re in the right place. With this overview, the decision will be easy. Your first decision? Indoor or outdoor. Since there are fewer types of indoor composting systems, we will cover those first. Composting Indoors If you’ve chosen to […]

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Compost or Mulch

I was talking to a person about planting this year’s garden and told them to compost the garden, then mulch heavy. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and asked, “isn’t compost and mulching the same thing?” It hit me that the 2 processes may not be understood by all. So, let’s talk about mulch (mulching) and compost (composting). Compost is nutrient rich and full of life that […]

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Small Scale Composting

Organic waste comprises an estimated 20-40% of the solid waste stream that ends up in landfills. Organic matter breaks down slowly in landfills due to limited oxygen, which can contribute to methane gas production. Enter stage left: compost. Compost is the rich, black remnant of organic waste such as kitchen scraps combined with “brown” matter (i.e. soil, leaves); the result is beautiful fertilizer for your garden. Intentionally composting accelerates the […]

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Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost

Metals become contaminants when their amounts in soil, reach levels that are toxic to human life, plants or other biological organisms. This creates a need for soil remediation. Remediation is the process of reducing the toxicity of contaminants or ridding the soil completely of toxic contaminants. Heavy metals (for example, arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc) fall under the group of inorganic chemical contaminants (5). These metals are released into the […]

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