Saturday, June 20, 2009

Organic Gardening - I Don't Have Enough Weeds

Whats wrong with this picture? All I see is a lot of beneficial, nitrogen rich, organic material that I can put to good use in my compost bins. This is an area that I am planning on planting strawberries in next spring. I have the hills all ready and waiting to be planted. While this area is just on hold I let the weeds grow and harvest them for my composting.

Weeds are thought to be a gardeners worse enemy. As an organic gardener, I can't get enough of them. They are a great source of green organic matter to be added to a compost pile when they are harvested at a young age, before they develop seed.

Once your garden is planted in the spring and your compost bins are full of debris from your garden or yard that you cleaned last fall, you need nitrogen rich organic material to add to it to start you new hot compost pile. Weeds are a great source and one that most never have a shortage of. Spring and summer are the best time to put this material to a good use and compost the material you need for mulching your garden beds in the fall and to have the organic matter needed to improve your gardens soil structure in the spring when needed for planting.

When composting weeds, it is best to use a hot method. This is best done in a bin that is at least 4 foot wide by 4 foot deep and 4 foot high. Once the proper layering of organic matter is done, carbon/nitrogen ratio, it is also a good choice to cover the pile to keep as much heat in the pile that you possibly can. I use a 4 bin system, each bin is 5 foot wide by 10 foot deep and 5 feet high and turn the pile to the next closest bin every two to three weeks. Once the pile is in the last bin it is a finished, a nutrient rich humus that is ready to use. If you don't have the room for a bin system, there are many self contained composting systems on the market that can be used and will create a hot compost.

The main concern with composting weeds is seed. Pulling or cutting them before they develop seed and perennial weed roots need to be dried or soaked until they rot before composted to prevent any chance of them regrowing in the compost.

With the proper carbon/nitrogen ratio, moisture content and the proper turning of your compost pile, you can successfully turn the unwanted weeds from your yard and garden into a healthy, nutrient rich, humus material that will greatly benefit your organic garden.


Daisy said...

My most common garden weed is clover. Look on the bright side; it's a nitrogen fixer! lots of nitrogen in my soil.

John Yazo said...

There is nothing wrong with having clover. I have it in my garden in most of the paths.

jennifer said...

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