Composting Organic Tomatoes

in Compost

One of the best ways to grow big, juicy organic tomatoes is to grow them in soil that has been prepared with organic compost.  Composting is easy, and it’s a great way to cut down on organic waste.  It’s also an inexpensive way to provide your organic tomatoes with a natural source of nutrients.

What is Compost?

Compost is what is produced when organic material decays.  A lot of what you throw away, including kitchen scraps, grass clippings, garden waste, straw, and manure can all be tossed into a composter to create rich, organic compost.

Why Compost?

Composting is easy.  It’s a wonderful way to recycle organic waste into a beneficial product.  And, you can never have too much compost.  Add as much as you want to your garden before planting and toss it onto established plants for extra nutrition.  If you have more than you need, just share the excess with other organic gardeners. 

The Benefits of Compost

Composting helps plants absorb water and nutrients, creates rich soil, dissolves some minerals, and reduces some pests and plant diseases.  It also feeds soil microorganisms and beneficial insects.  Attracting good microbes and insects also benefits the soil because, as these organisms die off, they further enrich the soil.  The better the soil, and the more “good” organisms it contains, the fewer the number of bad organisms.

How to Compost

Composting can be something you do a lot of or just a little. Here are some tips on how to make your own compost.

Types of Compost Bins

  • There are a few different kinds of compost bins.  The first is actually “binless.”  This is just a compost pile or heap.  The best compost heaps are three feet wide by three feet high.  Just find a good spot in the yard and dump your composting material in.  Turn the pile frequently to speed the composting process.
  • The second type of compost bin is a holding bin.  You can use wood, plastic, or even wire mesh to store your compost.  Turning the compost will speed the process.  If you don’t turn the compost, it will take up to two years for the material become ready.
  • Turning composters are the favorite of serious composters.  These are usually barrels mounted horizontally on a frame.  Organic materials are just tossed into the barrel.  The barrel is turned frequently to speed the composting process.  Compost can be prepared in under six months with this method.

What to Compost

Any organic material can be composted.  Although some people throw just about any type of waste into their compost bin, true organic compost comes from organic materials, and this means that the food scraps and other material must be pesticide free.  Wash fruits and vegetables before peeling them to remove any pesticides that may exist.  This will help keep pesticides out of your compost.

As a rule, anything that was once alive can be composted.  But, some materials make better compost than others.  Stick to the following materials to make sure that your compost is rich in nutrients and low in odor.

  • Alfalfa
  • Algae
  • Clover
  • Coffee grounds
  • Food waste
  • Garden waste
  • Grass clippings
  • Hay
  • Hedge clippings
  • Used hops
  • Manures
  • Seaweed
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Seedless weeds
  • Bark
  • Shredded cardboard
  • Corn stalks
  • Fruit waste
  • Leaves
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Peanut shells
  • Peat moss
  • Pine needles
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded stems and twigs
  • Straw
  • Vegetable stalks
  • Wood ashes

What Not to Compost

Some materials, organic or non-organic, just shouldn’t be composted.  Bones, meat, fish, and dairy can attract pests and make your compost pretty stinky.  Diseased plants may ultimately destroy your compost by spreading pests or diseases.  Pet waste may contain harmful organisms.  And, inorganic materials such as aluminum foil, glass, plastics, metals, and chemicals just aren’t organic or compostable.

Preparing Materials for Composting

If you’re a lazy composter, all you have to do is toss organic material into your compost bin.  However, just a few little tricks will speed up the composting process. 

  • Smaller is better – prepare waste materials by chopping them into smaller pieces.
  • Add materials in large batches – it’s better to feed your compost pile large batches every few days rather than small amounts every day. 
  • Turn up the heat – composting requires a steady temperature of between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  Turn up the heat by placing your compost bin where it gets the most sun.
  • Mix it up – turn your compost frequently.
  • Quick start compost – you can add some algae, seaweed, lake weed, aged manure, alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal or compost starter to your bin to speed up the process.

When you’re preparing your planting area, just mix the soil with about three inches of organic compost.  Then put a cup of organic bone meal and a cup of organic kelp meal into the planting hole.  You’ll soon be feasting on a crop of the best tomatoes you’ve ever tasted!

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Sam Jones has 110 articles online

Freelance writer Sam Jones spends much of his time writing about environmental issues and ways in which we can all adopt a greener lifestyle in order to reduce our carbon footprint.. He advises that the Green Deal UK is a great way of increasing energy efficiency in the home

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Composting Organic Tomatoes

This article was published on 2013/03/11