Composting should be in your gardening supplies if you are a landscaping professional or a landscaping contractor. Every professional landscaper recognizes the value, versatility, and efficacy of compost in a variety of applications. Here’s a look at composting and why you should start a compost bin as part of your landscaping supplies if you already haven’t.
Why is composting such a big deal?
Compost is the best food for any garden since it contains an excellent balance of essential plant nutrients for optimal plant growth. It includes a plethora of microorganisms and soil fauna that boost the conversion of soil nutrients into a readily and more easily absorbable form for plants. It also carries a healthy load of enzymes, natural antibiotics, and vitamins that help prevent plant-damaging pathogens.
Macro organisms like earthworms and millipedes help “till” soil by creating passageways for water and air to reach plant roots. As well as acting as a soil amendment and a critical topsoil component, it acts as excellent mulch and improves soil structure. Compost also helps roots grow and hold soil in place, preventing soil erosion.
Good soil is hard to come by, and as a landscaper, you know how critical soil is for a gorgeous, blooming garden. Composting can do wonders for your landscaping business. By creating your own compost heap as part of your landscaping supplies arsenal, you can soon provide your clients with top-quality compost for their gardens. It can be used to nurture a vegetable garden, pamper perennials, nourish trees and shrubs, give spring bulbs a boost, or encourage the thick and healthy growth of lawn grass.
How to build a thriving compost
Hot and cold composting are two ways to create a healthy and thriving compost pile. In hot composting, heat is the by-product of intense microbial activity. It is excellent when you want to create an abundance of compost quickly, while cold composting occurs at a slower speed. Either way, you will end up with excellent compost for your gardening supplies.
Hot composting requires sufficient nitrogen material (freshly pulled weeds, grass clippings, vegetable peels, overripe fruit, and other green matter) that microorganisms need to grow and multiply. The ratio of carbon-rich material (dry, fibrous, and tough brown material like dry leaves, sawdust, straw, and cornstalks) to nitrogen-rich material is 2:1. The pile can reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 36 hours and maintain this temperature for several days. A hot pile needs maintenance, and the temperature must be maintained constantly. If the temperature within the pile drops/gets hotter than 160 degrees, the pile should be turned or water added.
Cold composting requires less maintenance, but getting rich compost could take a year. The time it takes for compost matter to break down depends on the size of the particles – smaller particles will break down more quickly. Cold composting has the risk of carrying pathogens that could be bad for landscaping.
To build a compost bin, use lumber to create four sides of the lumber bin with a lid. Western Red Cedar or even rough, unplanned wood will suffice. One side should be removable or have a small gate at the bottom to scoop out the completed product (compost). Leave space for ventilation- however, all openings should be small, so animals can’t go inside.
Have you tried mushroom compost?
Mushroom compost is a by-product of mushroom farming. So, although it does not contain mushrooms, a good mushroom compost does contain decomposed mushrooms.
FSI Landscape Supply carries a mushroom compost, which is a mix of peat moss, manure, and decomposed mushrooms. This product is excellent as a fertilizer for flower beds, gardens, and top-dressing lawns.
Mushroom compost is excellent for most garden soil types and garden plants (ornamentals and edibles), so it should be a part of your landscaping supplies. It’s rich in potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, and micronutrients like iron, calcium, and magnesium. It has excellent water-holding properties and does not clog easily. A bit of mushroom compost added to clay or compacted soils can improve the soil structure and drainage capacity. Mushroom compost acts as a slow-release fertilizer that’s excellent for plant health, and it also acts as a fantastic mulch, keeping plant roots cool in summer. The moist compost also attracts earthworms which is excellent for landscaping and the optimal choice for gardens.
As a landscaping professional, you understand the impact you must have on gardens, yards, and patios to be successful and reputable. Adding compost to your list of gardening supplies can do your landscaping business a world of good. Creating a compost bin is not rocket science – you can build a bin or buy a ready-made one to start creating healthy, nutrient-rich compost for your clients.