Start or Feed Your Compost Bin
If you don’t have a compost bin, you can easily order one or buy from a local outlet.
Avoid adding any leaves infected with black spot, mildew, or other diseases that can contaminate the compost. Only add organic matter, meaning anything that comes from a plant. Avoid meat, “compostable bags” that truly only breakdown in a commercial facility, and dairy products, fats and oils. However, you can add fire ashes from clean burns (meaning untreated wood). Also toss in pinecones, vegetable peels, unbleached toilet paper rolls and paper bags, coffee filters and grounds, undyed paper, and even corks.
However, composting is a natural occurrence, so all you really need is a loose pile. If you want to contain it a bit, build a basic box with plenty of airflow using 1 x 1 or 2 x 4 lumber. The thing to remember about compost is that it will work most efficiently with heat, air, and water. Place your compost in a sunny spot and stir it regularly for the best results.
While you’re cleaning out summer plants from the vegetable garden, add those valuable nutrients to the compost bin. Toss in the end-of- the-season grass clippings and some of the smaller twigs and branches from deadheading and pruning existing plants. While compost breaks down most effectively in hot weather, it will continue to decompose over winter, providing compost for spring plantings. Plant a Garden In spring and early summer, planting a garden is all the chatter, but fall gardening is just as rewarding. In fact, in most areas, you can plant the same cool weather crops you started with in the spring. Plant carrots, certain types of lettuce and other greens like spinach, peas, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. These plants will be ready for harvest later in the fall. If temperatures drop, be sure to mulch the plants to protect the roots from freezing. You can also plant crops that will grow over winter for spring harvest, including onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, asparagus, and turnips. Just be sure to mark their location so you remember where they are when you begin planting in spring.
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