Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Bay Area: Where to Buy Soil/Compost for Your Garden?

Compost is basically decomposed organic material made out of shredded twigs, leaves, and kitchen scraps. To gardeners, this material is nothing less than "black gold" as it offers several benefits. For instance, mixing compost with clay soil makes it easier for the gardener to work with the soil. In sandy soils, mixing compost enhances the water hoarding capacity. Compost can also help improve plant health and growth.

How Is Compost Made?

Composting is also an eco friendly activity. It involves four main ingredients: moisture, organic matter, bacteria and oxygen.

Organic matter comprises of animal manures and plant materials. Organic materials used for compost  include a mix of twigs, dead leaves, manure (brown organic material) and fruit rinds, lawn clippings, etc (green organic material). Green materials tend to supply nitrogen while brown materials supply carbon.

As a general rule, gardeners must plan on using compost in the beds before every planting season. Here is the schedule for mixing compost so that plants grow healthily and yield better results:

   Cool season: mid-September to April is the cool growing season, so compost needs to be added in late August or during early September.

    Warm season: mid February to March is when the warm-season planting happens. One must add finished compost before the spring planting season.

Where to buy compost in Bay Area?

A lot of gardeners, who have the space and time, make their own compost.  But in case a compost fix is required then there are several resources out there in the Bay Area that offer such materials. In fact, some of these dealers are also known to offer high-quality compost at a very reasonable price. Users can also contact landscaping experts of their area to find out about the best compost dealers or to get the services of these experts. Such companies offer comprehensive maintenance programs that make sure the plants stay healthy and the owner’s investment is protected.

Buying from outside:

Buying compost from outside should not be taken casually. The user must keep certain things in mind, such as,

Quality: this may seem odd but smelling the compost is a good way of determining its quality. Even though the product is created out of decaying materials, finished compost still smells decent. It must not smell like ammonia or garbage. In case it does, that means the composting process is still not complete and that it won’t provide the plants with adequate nutrition.

Examining the compost: another way of determining the quality of the compost is by examining it with hands. Compost must have a dark color, and when touched with the hands, it must feel fluffy and light. If the user can distinguish the raw materials by looking at the compost, the process of composting is not complete.

Diversity: gardeners must avoid buying compost that only contains one kind of organic matter. Rather, the experts advice on buying composts created from several organic sources, such as grass clippings, leaves, food scraps, manure and plant scraps. More the variety, more are the benefits.

Apart from reaching out to the dealers, gardeners can also order online or through phone. All they need to do is locate the contact information of the manufacturer and discuss the requirements. When buying from a manufacturer, however, procuring in bulk rather than by bag is normally more cost effective. Also, since checking the quality during virtual deals is impossible, the buyer must make sure that the manufacturer is dependable. It is also advisable to avoid buying from big box stores. Chain retailers are more likely to offer low quality compost than individual dealers.

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