Tips For Composting On A Balcony

Many people are starting to move away from using artificial fertilizers to fuel their garden. They’ve realized that they can fertilize their gardens much more cheaply by making their own compost. Homemade compost also has far more nutrients than the fertilizers normally sold at home improvement stores.

At the same time, many people have faced some challenges when making compost on their own. They have found that it is often spoiled by bugs and other vermin. Heavy rains can also ruin the quality of your compost. Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate these risks while composting: consider creating compost on one of your balconies.

Why Compost on a Balcony?

Many gardeners have started to use their balconies as a place to create compost. Many of these people live in urban areas and don’t have access to a garden to make compost in. You need to be more resourceful when you are trying to garden in the city and your balcony can be one of the best places to do it.

There are a couple of other benefits to using your balcony for composting. For example, you won’t need to worry about animals and other vermin getting into your compost pile.

What Do You Need?

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to start composting. You can get started with the following:

  • You will need something to hold onto the waste you intend to compost with. A medium-sized garbage can will do. You will be keeping it on your balcony so a stationary bin will serve best.
  • You will need a large bin for your kitchen that you will throw your waste in before moving it to your compost bin. You will need to make sure there are some holes to keep your compost pile from retaining water and provide proper ventilation.
  • You will need some soil, but it doesn’t have to be the same quality that you normally use for plants.
  • You need worms to facilitate the composting process. You would have plenty of worms available if you were storing your compost in a garden. However, you won’t have that option when you are doing your composting on a balcony. You will need to buy a handful of worms to add to the bin. Red worms tend to work best.

What Do You Put in Your Compost?

You will be collecting organic waste and storing it in your compost bin. There are a number of different things that you can use to generate your compost, but it can include:

  • Leaves
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Vegetables and fruits you didn’t eat
  • Shredded newspapers
  • Grass clippings
  • Animal waste

There are many different composting strategies you can try. Some people create specific mixtures to ensure their compost gets all the necessary nutrients. In general, you will probably want to alternate between layers of plant material and soil to ensure your compost ferments evenly. You can try a number of different strategies, but the important thing is to get started.

You will need to be a little more careful when you are composting from a balcony. Compost can give off some unpleasant odors or risk drawing bugs to your home if you don’t do it properly. You may want to reduce the odors and risk of drawing critters to your house by mixing similar levels of kitchen waste with leaves and grass clippings.

Start Your Composting Today

Your balcony can be a great place to create your own compost pile when you don’t have a garden available. You may have to wait a few weeks or even a couple of months before your compost is ready to use. However, you should have some high quality fertilizer to add to your plants after it has finished.

About the Author: Kalen is a consumer advice columnist who writes about green living for http://www.stockpkg.com/.






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Preparing our garden for winter

October is almost over and it keeps on getting cooler here in Toronto. Most of our trees still have their leaves, but I’m sure that won’t be for long!

We spent yet another weekend – Or rather at least one day this weekend doing some more yard work in order to prepare our garden for winter. This time we were busy putting away things like our solar lights, garden ornaments and trimming back some of the plants that had become overgrown. I also took some time inspecting my rose plants and I cut out any dead branches that I noticed.

When the trees finally start to drop their leaves we’ll gather up some of the leaves and put them on our garden beds as we normally do each year. A good layer of maple leaves on our plants seems to help protect them through the winter.

Most winters we don’t get a lot of snow. Oh we get snow, but it snows, then it melts and we have a week or two of deep cold but no snow cover .. so if the plants are bare and exposed to all that cold it can really hurt them – so at least the deep leaf cover helps. Then of course it will snow again and our garden will have a foot or two of snow on it for a week or two until it melts again and that will keep the plants and ground insulated for a short while .. but the temperature changes the garden goes through through the winter because of our lack of good snow cover yet fairly cold temperatures can be quite hard on the plants if they aren’t prepared in the fall.

Do you put mulch or leaves on your garden beds in late fall to protect your plants over the winter?

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It’s been a strange cool Spring

Are you having a cold and rainy spring in your area? Or are you having strange and turbulent weather? We seem to be having all of the above here in Toronto.

Two weekends ago it was cold and we actually had snow with thunder and lightening storms .. yes and odd mix, but it happened – more than once. It’s true. Then it warmed up … then it cooled down again and then it rained and rained and rained.

Currently we’re hovering between periods of torrential rain storms and then warm sunny periods. It actually reached 22 Celsius (72 F) today which is quite warm for us in April – especially this year given that we had snow less than two weeks ago (which was really really unusual).

First Crocus of spring

I guess the good news about the cool rainy damp Spring is that well … April showers bring May flowers … and well they bring April flowers too. I’ve had Crocus’ blooming since about March 20th and thanks to the cool weather a good portion of them are still blooming. Usually they’re GONE by now. I’m also enjoying my Snow Drops this year … often they come and go so fast than if I blink I miss them, but since we’ve had an extended cool period they’ve stuck around instead of blooming at lightening speed and disappearing.

My Glories of the Snow are in bloom in the backyard garden beds and the a few in the front are beginning to bloom this week. A few Dwarf Irises are also blooming. Other flowers that are growing and preparing to bloom are several Hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and I’m sure a few others that I can’t remember off the tops of my head. Basically everything is greening up and growing leaves including most of my roses. At least the heavy dose of snow that we had over the winter covered all the plants well and protected them so I believe most of my plants survived the winter cold. We don’t always get very good snow cover here in Toronto so I tend to worry about my plants in the deep cold of winter but not this past winter.

Blooming crocuses

Overall my garden is healthy and happy … I’m just waiting for the weather to warm up and for all my flowers to start growing and to begin blooming … but what gardener isn’t?

Tell me about your garden.

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