Building a compost bin system is one of the first things I do when I move into a new place. It feels good to know I am working on building good soil even before my boxes are unpacked inside. My three bin system ensures we have a constant supply of compost “cooking” outside: one pile we are adding organic matter into, one pile that is semi-broken down and another pile ready for the garden.

The middle of this compost pile has "black gold" ready for the garden beds

The middle of this compost pile has “black gold” ready for the garden beds

With spring time planting upon us, now is a great time to harvest the compost that has fully broken down. You will know it is ready for the garden when it is finely textured, dark and rich looking, and resembling soil in consistently – no big chunks of food or garden waste remain. I peeled back the top of the compost pile to reveal the “black gold” fully broken down compost. It went directly into my raised beds to replenish the soil.

compost-loadVegetables are heavy feeders, meaning they suck a lot of nutrients from the soil. That’s a good thing! We want them full of nutrients so we can consume those for our own bodies. But it’s important to add those nutrients back in every gardening season so vegetables can easily find what they need to grow big and strong. Fully broken down compost gives your plants a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals. It will attract micro organisms that will keep your plants healthy. (Find out more about soil healthy from my earlier post here)

compost-bedsComposting at home is an easy and inexpensive way to turn your food and garden waste into a valuable product. Even if you don’t have your home compost system in place, pick up a few bags of organic compost from your local nursery to add to your soil this spring. My beds have nice, thick layers of compost added. Now we just need to get those seeds in the ground and we’ll be growing!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson