What can the home gardener make from refuse, etc., to take the place of 5-10-5 and nitrate of soda?
Make a compost pile of straw, weeds, grass clippings, leaves, and other plant parts.All the refuse from our lawns and vegetables and flower gardens has gone into our compost pile. This includes corn and dahlia stalks, peonies, etc. The entire pile has been covered with clay subsoil (topsoil being scarce). A little fertilizer has been added and some leaves. It is our intention to use this pile, accumulated during summer and fall, by digging it into the vegetable gardens. Is this good practice?
A better method would have been to make alternate layers of soil and refuse together, with a definite amount of commercial fertilizer and lime. The only thing to do now is to turn the pile several times, mixing all the ingredients together.Will you give me an idea of the fertilizer value of compost, with inorganic chemicals added, as compared to that made of organic matter only?
Organic fertilizers are less satisfactory to add to composts than inorganic, largely because of their slower action. Once decomposed, there should be little difference between the two. Inorganic fertilizers and lime are added to the compost heap both to hasten decomposition and to supply nutrients otherwise low or lacking.In making a compost pile, is it more advisable to pile up on top of ground, or to dig pit and gradually fill in?
In dry climates, a slight depression is best, but elsewhere, pile should be on level ground.How do you keep a compost pile from smelling?
If smelly ingredients are used (e.g. raw sewage sludge), using superphosphate on alternate layers instead of lime will kill odors.What is a good substitute for city dwellers for the objectionable compost pile?
Try making compost in plastic bags. Mix organic materials with fertilizers (1 qt. to a bushel). Mixture should be slightly damp. Seal and store at 70 degrees F. or higher. Don't use lime until compost is ready to use in 3 to 6 months.Does the compost lose any of its elements when kept in the house all winter and dried up?
The mechanical structure of such soils is affected more than its nutritional value. If stored inside, storing in plastic bags will keep it moist. Drying kills soil organisms vital to plant life.Compost pits are sometimes thickly inhabited by very large, fat earthworms. Are these harmful, or should they be left in the decomposing material?
Worms do no damage in the compost; in fact, they assist in the decomposition of vegetable matter. When compost is sifted for use, they will be eliminated.