The Magical Mexicali Community Garden: What's in your COMPOST?

The Magical Mexicali Community Garden: What's in your COMPOST?

May 29, 2020

Compost is a form of rebirth, organic material born of the earth given a second chance to prove its worth. It’s nice to know the rhyme and reason, so we hope to help you better understand compost with some tips and tricks. 

 

Composting is easy but it is also important, and our first tip is to start doing it. What you may not know is that organic material that ends up in landfills slowly decomposes and creates methane bubbles that are slowly released and result in significant contributions to greenhouse gasses. Instead of stewing in piles of plastic, your orange peels can serve a second life as a catalyst of growth, a phoenix born from the ashes and used to bear life to future generations of cultivation!

 

Keep your compost vegan! No one wants to invite rats or raccoons to the garden party, so leave your salmon skin and t-bones in the garbage or feed them to the doggo. If you cook vegetables in butter you should leave them out of the compost as well, keep your compost dairy free.

 

It is important to balance your “green” and “brown” ratio, the golden rule is 2:1, that is two parts kitchen excess to one part dry leaves, hay, or wood chips. Alternate the dry brown and moist green content in layers. Starting your pile on a small bed of sticks and twigs is a good idea. In the off chance that you don’t want to create your own compost, there is most likely a local farm or transfer station that would gladly take it for you.

Fun Fact: Cardboard can be used as “brown” material when in need. If you want to compost it, remove the packing tape and labels and tear or cut it into small strips. If your compost is overly dry you can wet the cardboard before you rip it up and mix it into the compost as it retains moisture.  

 

The Mexicali Community Compost 

Smell is one of the main stigmas surrounding composting, but it’s an easy fix! Here’s what you can do;

  • Store it in a bag in the freezer until you can put it in a garden or donate it
  • Be sure to follow all the rules and keep your compost vegan!
  • Layer wood ash from your fireplace or fire pit! 
    • This introduces lime and potassium, and will balance your garden's PH levels for acid averse plants like leafy greens!  

Disclaimer: Avoid coal ash due to chemical residue—YUCK.

       

      Before bringing your compost to the garden pile you can use:

      • A mason jar
      • Any large tupperware or container
      • A 5 gallon bucket (Available at any hardware store)

      Pro tip: You can cover the whole thing in stickers to style it out!

       

      Simple outdoor compost box methods:

      • Chicken wire circle with columnar heap to fill from the top
      • "Dig & Drop" method
        • dig a 1 foot deep hole, fill with compost, cover with soil and let mother nature do the work for you!
      • Up-cycled wood you have access to: just look for an "HT" label, because otherwise it is likely treated with chemicals. Install an optional door to keep the compost covered but for easy accessible turning.

       

      Some organic materials are wicked good fertilizers in their natural state. Like banana peels which are especially good companions when planting tomato plants!

      • Store peels separate and put them in a container with water
      • Keep it in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then you have a potassium rich liquid fertilizer that you can water into any of your houseplants or garden.
        • Spider plants love it!
      • After soaking you can cut the banana peels into small strips and stick them in your compost or directly into the garden soil.
      • Tea and coffee are also great fertilizers and you can stick your teabags right into a houseplant pot. (If the label has a positive message you can share it with your plant!)

       

      Make sure to turn your compost frequently to help it mix and mingle and allow oxygen in to help break down the pile and turn it into crumbly black garden gold. In many countries they use machetes to cut the compost into smaller bits allowing it to break down faster. If your compost is overly soggy, you can always turn in some more dry brown material.

       

      It takes energy to make energy! With a little effort you can create the food for your green thumbing endeavors and become leaner, cleaner, and greener. Lastly, educate others on the simple joys and benefits of composting. 


      The composting process takes time so you need to find a good place to leave it be to let entropy take place. Do you have any compost tips or tricks to share with us? Leave us a note on social media! We'd love to hear from you!

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