Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It’s been 23 years since I’ve moved to Canada from the Philippines.  I remember that the first thing I looked for was a Filipino community paper so I can read some news about the community being new in Calgary.  I never found any Filipino community paper back in 1996. From them on I told myself that [...]

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Page added on June 28, 2012

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Why Compost?

Composting is the single most important task you can do to boast yields of vegetables and flowers in your garden. It’s easy, free and provides a perfectly balanced fertilizer to feed your plants, improve the soils structure, and protect your plants against drought, diseases and insect pests.

You can obtain or make a fancy composting unit or just pile the ingredients directly on the ground. If you’re an urban gardener a couple of upright structures will fit the bill for space. It’s a wonder how microorganisms and earthworms break down cubic yards of grass clippings, leaves, weeds, kitchen scraps, straw, plant stocks and wood chips into a dark crumbly rich material called compost. Since compost ingredients decompose fastest when they’re combined in just the right proportions material, oxygen, moisture and temperature, others take a laid back approach and get the same results over more time. The magical thing about composting is that it happens no matter how much attention you give or don’t give to your pile. There are anew do’s and don’t. Don’t put dairy products, meat, bones, grease or fatty foods into your compost, they attract rodents and insects and often give off an odor. Don’t put herbicide contaminated plants or chemicals, or weeds like creeping Charlie or creeping bellflower into your compost, the temperature doesn’t get high enough to break them down. Keep dog and cat waste, charcoal aches and large pieces of wood out of your compost. The do list is shorter like put all your grass clippings, leaves, plant stocks green or brown, straw, hay, coffee grounds, coffee filters, kitchen scraps, eggshells, sawdust and woodchips into the compost. Every 4 inches of material I scatter a couple trowels full of soil in over it, and then dampen with a spray of water, repeat the process every 4 inches. The moisture and heat will get the microorganisms happy and you compost cooking. Put a lid on your pile to contain the heat and keep heavy rains from making your compost to wet and smelly. I have a 1/2 inch x 4 ft rod that I driven repeatedly into the pile to supply oxygen into the center core.

My composter is an upright unit. Every month or so I dig out the lower processed material, screening it through a 1/2 inch mesh to get a nice crumbly mix. What hasn’t decomposed I dump back in for another cycle.

Manures are ideal for composting, generally rich in nitrogen and other nutrients and will help ingredients break down quickly. However if you live in an urban location consider your neighbors.

When composting it’s a win win situation, you gain rich soil nutrients that otherwise would be distained for the landfill.

Happy gardening!

H. Kriaski


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