... And ONCE in a while I find a small golden nugget. For instance, Herb Herbert is the cute name of a mascot for a national company that sells nice small herbs through local garden centers. I can't even remember how long ago they started sending me newsletters. I can recommend their .pdf downloads (about particular herbs which they sell) that you can find on their website, if you'd like to make copies to hand out for educational purposes. Today the newsletter (January 2008, Issue 59) contained this nugget I thought was worth passing along.
(I would, as a Master Gardener must, amend the following line about all weed seeds and disease being destroyed by the composting process. Actually, "cold" or passive composting will not destroy all weed seeds and disease. The high temperature of a well layered and actively turned "hot" pile is what kills seeds and disease. As a mostly organic gardener (with two passive compost piles, a worm bin and another lidded composter), I don't add obviously diseased plant matter to my piles, and I am forced to pull weed seedlings from my composted beds.
I consider weeding a privilege of taking part in the miracle of life, and the bending, reaching, stretching meditative exercise keeps me out of the gyms. Now on, to the newsletter:
Compost is basically a natural plant food and soil conditioner. It is an ideal way of recycling all your garden and kitchen waste by converting them into a form that replenishes lost nutrients as well as improving the condition of your soil. Compost also improves the moisture retention in sandy soils as well as drainage in heavier, clay soils. The compost is made by the decomposition of organic matter by micro-organisms and bacteria. Heat generated in a compost heap destroys all unwanted weed seeds and diseases.
HERBS USED TO MAKE COMPOST
BORAGE Borago officinalis. An annual herb with large, leafy, hollow stems. A good source of green material that can be produced quickly. The leaves have a high moisture content enabling them to break down rapidly.
CHAMOMILE GERMAN Matricaria recutita. High in calcium. Chamomile also helps to sweeten the compost and remove that decayed smell.
YARROW Achillea millefolium. Packed with copper, nitrates and phosphates, yarrow acts as a catalyst for compost activation. A small handful of leaves alone are said to break down a compost heap.
COMFREY Symphytum officinale. Rich in vitamins A, B12 and C as well as calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
TANSY Tanacetum vulgare. High in potassium. Tansy is a vigorous grower and will give you ample green material. Great cut flower!
HOW TO MAKE COMPOST
Composts can be made in a heap or a bin, depending on how much space you have.
To make a compost heap, layer your materials until mixture is just damp, not water logged, as this can slow down the heating process essential for compost. Air is vital for producing compost; lack of it causes the anaerobic bacteria to take over and produce sulphur compounds which give off a foul odour. Avoid this by turning over your heap occasionally until compost is ready. This should take 14-21 days.
Once your compost is stabilized, that is no longer generating heat, your mixture is ready to use.
Use your compost as soon as you can to avoid the loss of nutrients through seepage.
For more exciting information on all our herbs and where to purchase them, visit our website at: www.herbherbert.com
Try this link; http://www.herbherbert.com/pdf/compost_herbs.pdf
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