One of the most rewarding and simplest things that you can do to ensure that your roses are healthy and strong, is to top dress them with your compost. Because it provides plant nutrients in a balanced and ready-to-use form and improves the texture and structure of the soil, compost is the best for your roses!
All your gardening success depends on the health of your soil, and the health of your soil is related to whether or not you enrich it with compost. This earthy substance is what remains after hundreds of different organisms including bacteria, fungi, worms and insects break down organic materials over time.
Compost is the result of the activity of numerious tiny organisms that need two main compounds for their life processes – carbon for energy and nitrogen for growth and reproduction. As the differing organisms go through the organic materials, the byproducts undergo decomposition and eventually most of the digestible material is consumed and transformed, leaving behind a nice rich soil amendment. Compost is an outstanding and valuable source of organic matter for almost any gardener. Can you ask for anything more?!
Also, compost will warm the soil in the spring, stimulating plants to grow sooner in the season, and cool the soil in the summer allowing for better performance in the summer heat. Then, if you keep your garden well composted you will not need to water and fertilize as often. With all these beneficial reasons to make your own compost, you can see why interest in composting has literally exploded in the last decade!
Dating back thousands of years. The ancient Romans and Greeks deliberately piled animal manures and soil in such a way as to aid in decomposition. The Bible also speaks of it. The Medieval church preserved the knowledge and composting continued through the Dark Ages, Renaissance and in the New World by the native American tribes.
Since then, researchers and agricultural scientists have refined composting techniques and developed new products to make the process easier. In fact, for 2,000 years or more, composting and manuring were the only methods available for farmers to enrich their land and make it yield. It has only been since the nineteenth century that chemical fertilizers have been available
For the backyard gardener, composting does not need to be toilsome or time consuming. Effective compost can be made as simply as you want. My first attempt into composting was a pile of leaves and grass in the corner of our back yard. Another simple way would be to drive four metal stakes into the ground and wrap with chicken wire. As far as the materials used, you can make it quite easily by easily recycling garden and kitchen waste from around your home.
In fact, nearly anything that once lived is a candidate for your home compost heap. Grass clippings, ground-up leaves, vegetable peelings, egg shells, pine needles, wood ashes, seaweed, hair clippings, coffee grounds and tea bags are all excellent ingredients for your homemade compost. Remember to never put human and pet excretement, any kind of meat products (they attract animals and pests) and diseased plants.
Whatever ingredients you choose to use in your pile remember to have a variety if possible. A more diverse pile is likely to decompose faster and maintain a higher internal temperature. As your compost pile starts to grow, turn it twice a week with a pitchfork and keep it damp but not sopping wet. Turning the pile will aerate it and also move less decomposed matter into the middle of the heap. As organisms start to break down all the layers, you will notice that the center of the pile becomes very hot. This is a sign that your compost is working!
Completed compost is not soil but it is one of the most important ingredients to healthy soil. Add finished compost to your garden soil and mix it in before you begin planting in the spring. Your compost should never smell bad. If you find that your compost pile has an unpleasant odor it is probably because of lack of air or an overabundance of nitrogen rich materials. Its important to make sure your pile receives at least a half-day of sunshine. Next would be to make sure you have the right mixture of ingredients to make your compost do the job its ment to do, which is break down organic material into available nutrients for your garden. Lastly, the most important thing is to maintain moisture in your compost pile
Some gardeners are concerned about the “perfect” mix for making effective compost. Don’t worry. Whether you arrange your pile in precise layers of nitrogen and carbon and turn it every day or whether you just throw in whatever you have and let it sit until it rots; either way the result will be compost.
It all depends on how involved you wish to be and how fast you want to start useing your compost. If you want your pile to decay quickly then you must take the time to chop up large fibrous materials and woody stalks and branches. Turn the pile and add carbon rich materials. As well it is a good idea to add a layer of soil over kitchen wastes so as not to attract flies and other animals. You will know that your compost is done when it becomes dark brown or black and resembles commercial potting soil, just lumpier. Keep your finished compost covered so it is not exposed to rain or snow or it will lose many of its nutrients. The outer portions of your pile that have not fully decomposed can be added to the next pile as a starter mix.
Making compost is one of the most rewarding and satisfying activities any gardener can be involved in. You are nurturing and enriching your soil and at the same time recycling your own wastes.