Do you have a green thumb and love to tend those bountiful botanicals in your backyard Sure you do! If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this right now, looking for tips and tricks to make your homegrown garden stand out amidst the cookie-cutter lawns regardless of whether or not you live an urban jungle, a rural landscape, or – like a lot of people – in the suburbs.
An amazing tip for any gregarious greenery grower worth their salt is to have the right nutrients to make their garden grow. Store-bought fertilizer from Home Depot or Lowes works, and it’s incredibly convenient. However, the best is usually sourced locally. And you can’t get any more local than your compost pile.
What is a Compost Pile?
Compost is the clean term used for the decayed organic material used as plant fertilizer. You might also call it mulch or manure. A compost pile is simply a collection of compost that’s built up over time and is all natural.
Is There a Difference Between Store Bought and Homegrown Fertilizer?
Most fertilizers are going to be organic. Some might be manure-based – chicken and cow manure tends to be popular ingredients – or plant-based compost made from peat moss. Individual bags are not that expensive, only a few dollars per cubic foot.
Having your compost is much more cost effective. It may take more time to build up your pile, but savings are worth it. Coffee grounds; fruit peels, skins, and seeds; your dog’s droppings; and leftover meat skins and fish bones can be used to build it up and make it as nutrient-rich as possible. This is where having a designated compost barrel comes in handy.
Why Would I Need a Compost Barrel?
Compost piles are great for gardening, but there are a few drawbacks to consider before beginning the process. For one, they require space. They also become incredibly noticeable to neighbors and local laws – or even a spouse – who may not care for the smell, and let’s be honest: decomposing organic materials stink. That may not be a drawback for you if you live in the countryside, but wild animals attracted to your pile of brown gold might be; that might be a problem even if you live in the city too.
Composting barrels are incredibly useful because not only do they contain the mess, they get rid of the unsightliness and shield the smell. They provide an out-of-the-way method for storing everything that is going to become the food for your prize-winning long-stem roses.
What Do I Need to Look For in a Compost Barrel?
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, you have me sold; I want a compost barrel instead of constantly hitting Home Depot for fertilizer. But what should I look for in a good compost Barrel?”
That is the best question to ask. There are a few things that you’re going to want to look for when shopping for a good compost Barrel. Pricing is going to be a factor, but pretend for a moment that price isn’t an issue. Here is a list of key things to look for when you go shopping for a compost barrel:
· Indoors or Outdoors – some relatively small and space-saving options on the market can be used indoors as well as larger, outdoor models.
· Toughness Test – Is it well constructed and does it provide good durability against the elements as well as pesky raccoons or other would-be woodland compost thieves?
· Set-up Difficulty – Can you pull it straight out of the box and get started composting or is there some assembly required?
· Goes ‘Round and ‘Round – is it a tumbler-style composter that allows you to mix the ingredients with a crank or is it stationary, forcing you to mix everything by hand?
· Creepy Crawly – Does the composter require you to invest in the use of worms to help break down the materials inside before they are ready for use in your garden?
· The Air in There – does the Barrel have proper ventilation to help create a well-aerated mixture or does it bottle up the smell to vomit-inducing proportions?
The Choice is Yours
In the end, it’s up to you to decide what is right for you. Only you know what you need to make composting your fertilizer right for your garden. Consider these factors and do a bit of research on products before making your final selection and may the Fertilize be with you… always.