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COMPOSTING TOOLS AND TIPS

The key to good organic gardening is good composting. There are several good reasons. The demand for most organic fertilizers is increasing, while the supply available to each person in the world is decreasing. Soon, few fertilizers may be available at reasonable prices. Yet compost can be produced cheaply in a sustained way by living soils. Around 96% of the total amount of nutrients needed for plant growth processes are obtained as plants use the sun's energy to work on elements already in the air and water. Soil and compost provide the rest.

Compost is created from various forms of decomposing plant life. This organic matter is a tiny fraction of the total material that makes up the soil, yet it is absolutely essential for soil life and fertility. Microscopic life-forms digest and decompose organic matter, and then die, resulting in humus, which helps both to retain and release nutrients to the plant roots. Plants move along the "cafeteria line, "checking out what's on the menu, and pulling off whatever combination of food nutrients they choose from the organic smorgasbord in the soil. Good organic gardening practices rely on this natural, continual process to produce abundant and healthy plants.

You should be aware, however, that plants, kitchen scraps, and other green matter used for composting but grown in deficient soil can result in deficient compost. For example, if the soil your kitchen food is grown in lacks certain trace minerals, your kitchen scraps will not be able to add these missing nutrients to your compost. So it is important that the soil you grow food in is balanced and fertile, and that food you have purchased that later becomes compost is also nutritionally balanced.

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