First of all, lets start with the basics. Garden composting is merely encouraging what nature is all to happy to do anyway. That is, decomposing any organic matter into its basic constituents. Hummus and minerals easily utilised by living plants.

The organic matter on your compost heap means anything that was once alive, it does not mean ‘organic’ in the sense that it was grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Whether you use only organically produced foods, a mixture of organic and conventional ones, or purely conventional foods it can all go into your garden compost bin and will eventually become organic compost.

Of course commercial organic producers have to follow rules about which waste products can be returned to the soil and ideally they would all come from organically produced foodstuffs. But even an organic farm is permitted to use non-organic manures from non-organically reared animals so long as that manure is left to stand and so break down for several months.

On the smaller garden scale organic gardeners should never waste any organic matter. Chemical residues are tiny on conventionally produced foods, and once left in your compost pile for a few months will disappear altogether. So even if not all your food or manure is organically grown you are still carrying out organic composting.

It would be lovely to only ever have produce (meat, fruit or vegetable) made without the use of artificial chemicals but it is not how most of us live. Sourcing all our food organically is very expensive unless we are self sufficient and farm our own land that way. No carbon based waste should be thrown into landfill where it causes methane pollution and expense to be managed. Any compost heap benefits from all the matter you can find to put on it.

Organic gardening is a fine way to garden but do not worry if not everything you have to enrich your compost is from a similar origin. Organic composting is all about composting anything once alive, wherever it came from. Your principles may very well stop you from using manure from intensively reared animals in your compost heap but it should not stop you from putting in any natural waste your reboiler (double-tube plate) home produces. Newspapers may not be printed with the best Eco inks and who knows how the trees to make that paper were grown? But the end result, when passed through the process of decomposition still gives you rich organic compost.

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For more information about organic composting and organic gardening tips visit the Catalan Vegetable Garden site.

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