Sunday, September 19, 2021

Composting and mulching to build healthy soils - West Hawaii Today

Last updated Sunday, September 5, 2021 06:05 ET , Source: NewsService

When weather conditions are dry, it is a good time to explore ways to conserve water. Organic material is essential to good soil. Well-decomposed organic matter helps increase water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil. Undecomposed material like leaves and clippings used as surface mulch can help conserve moisture and keep weeds under control. Nematodes, those little microscopic worms that feed on your roots, will do less damage in a high organic soil. Organic matter may also increase the minor element and microbiological activity of your soil.

For these reasons, save your grass clippings and leaves. They are like money in the bank. You can store these materials in a corner of the garden. Decay of plant material deposited in a compost pile can be hastened through the use of fertilizer.


For each bushel of leaves, grass clippings or pruning tips, add two cups of balanced fertilizer and one cup crushed coral or hydrated lime. Build the compost pile in layer-cake method, a layer of plant material 6 inches deep. Continue until the pile is. feet high or so. After the pile shows signs that decay is well under way, usually four to five weeks, mix the pile by turning it over. A pitchfork would come in handy at this point. The compost is ready to use in about three months. It is an excellent material to mix with soil for vegetable gardens and new plantings.

Anthurium especially thrive on well drained compost mixed with volcanic cinder. They love that high...

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