Composting is by far the best way to nourish your plants. If you take care of the soil by adding humus rich compost you will start many beneficial processes:

* breaking down organic matter
* creation of humus
* release of food when your plants are ready to feed
* the absorption of minerals and nutrients
* water retention while providing good drainage
* improved soil structure (allowing air and water in just the right proportions).
* healthy plants are more pest and disease free

Composting Humus

There are many tumblers and mixers on the market, or you can make your own. Basically a container(a barrel or a 55 gallon drum)will work just fine.

Leaves provide carbon and things green provide nitrogen. When combining these ingredients, use two parts brown and one part green. Also include an inch of soil on top of the two layers mentioned above and keep alternating.

Composting humus rich soil if you don't have enough green you can add manure/compost, available at the garden center. Kitchen scraps including coffee grounds and filter ,egg shells, fruits and vegetables are excellent additions. No meat or fish and no pet waist.

Add enough water to make everything moist but not wet. In a couple of days you will notice this mixture heating up. Then you can turn the mixture bringing the middle to the outside and the outside to the middle. You should do this every three days or so.composting shade garden

When the mixture is finished processing it will have a pleasant smell, be dark brown and crumbly. It can take as little as three weeks if you have the right proportions and you do some turning.

An alternative is to build a couple of bins for larger quantities. Use the same layering method and turning every 4 or 5 days. It must heat up to around 160 degrees or it won't decompose.

Worm-Composting! This is well worth the effort, which is really easy once you get it all set up. You'll have wonderful humus rich soil and healthy plants without feeding chemicals. And during dry spells you won't have to water as often. All because of your deciding to amend your soil.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Heiner is a Master Gardener and a Delaware Certified Nursery Professional.