Do it for your garden. Properly made compost can help you enjoyone of your best gardening seasons ever.Simply put, high-quality compost (2 to 3 pounds per squarefoot) makes most garden soils vastly more productive.In heavy clay soils, the compost reduces compaction, helpsincrease aeration and enables water to better infiltrate the soil.In sandy soils, it makes the soil better able to retain both waterand nutrients.Compost is a good source of “slow-release” organicfertilizer, too. It makes the fertilizer less likely to leachout, making needed plant nutrients available for your garden veggiesthroughout the season.And in contrast to unprocessed organic matter, properly compostedmaterial is free of viable weed seed, nematodes and diseases.The bottom line is that compost can give both your garden andyour gardening experience a really big boost.Unfortunately, high-quality compost is required in fairly largeamounts, it’s often sold only in bulk (so getting it home canbe a hassle) and it isn’t readily available in most places.Admittedly, these are serious negatives. But don’t get discouraged.There is a simple solution: make it.Most gardeners know compost is good for their gardens. Butmany don’t really understand what it is, much less how to makeit.The first step in mastering the process is having a good definition.Simply put, compost is what’s left of organic matter aftermicrobes have thoroughly decomposed it. You can extract allof the fundamentals of composting from that short sentence.1. Organic Matter. Almost any plant materialcan be composted. Readily available organic matter includes leaves,grass clippings, twigs, chopped brush, straw, sawdust and vegetableplants (along with culled produce) from the garden.You can add kitchen peelings and coffee grounds, too. Don’tuse table scraps, though, to avoid attracting animals to the compostpile.2. Microbes. The bacteria and fungi that dothe decomposing are so tiny they can’t be seen without magnification.Although a number of companies sell them, you don’t need to spendyour money. These microbes are everywhere.Mixing a few scoops of garden soil or compost from a previousbatch into the compost pile will provide all the microbes youneed to start the process.Like all living organisms, microbes require water and nutrients.Much of the water is supplied by the organic matter. More watercan be sprinkled onto the pile as needed.All of the nutrients the microbes need can be provided by theorganic matter if it has enough nitrogen. If the organic matterneeds more nitrogen, incorporate a little nitrogen fertilizeror animal manure.The most desirable microbes require oxygen. An ample supplyis in the air. However, as microbes decompose the organic matter,they tend to use up all the oxygen in the pile. To let in moreoxygen, simply turn the pile occasionally.3. Decomposition. Organic matter is food formicrobes. However, they can’t take a bite, chew, swallow and thendigest it as we do. Microbes release powerful chemicals calledenzymes that digest, or decompose the organic matter.After the organic matter is broken down into small molecules,microbes absorb these molecules and use them for energy and reproduction.Because this process generates heat, compost piles normally reachtemperatures of 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.These temperatures, sustained over several weeks, kill weedseeds, nematodes and many other organisms that cause plant diseases.This is one reason compost is so much better than noncompostedorganic matter.Those are the basics of composting. It’s a simple process youcan do easily at home. For more detailed information, contactyour county Extension Service office.
By Joe ChapmanTHE roving hinterland boxing coach Orlon ‘Pocket’ Rogers, through the Ministry of Social Cohesion continues to make his rounds in those remote areas of Guyana where he has just completed 10 days of basic pugilistic training.Rogers, who began this crusade of introducing boxing in 2017 to interior locations of Guyana, recently went to Region Eight where the introductory boxing programme saw training held in Kato’s sixteen villages in the North Pakaraima region and another eleven, inclusive of the populated villages of Bamboo Creek, Chenapau, Kaibarupai, Kopinang, Kurukabaru, Karis Paris, Monkey Mountain, Paramakatoi and Tuseneng, welcomed to their districts.The just-concluded 10 days of introductory training of boxers by Rogers also saw female football coach Nicola Leacock visit Region #8.Rogers has expressed thanks for being able to impart the fundamental training to the youths in those areas who were given training sessions in boxing and football, through the direction of Social Cohesion Minister Dr George Norton and his Ministry, which aim to empowering youths to build cohesive communities.This is the third such exercise since 2017. Rogers spent 10 days introducing the relatively new fistic sport to those hinterland boys and girls. There were 20 persons attending sessions twice a day and the participants are asking for the coach to re-visit their village for a three-week stint to conduct follow-up training sessions.Rogers was elated about the response by the people in the hinterland area saying: “They are all thankful to the government and the Ministry of Social Cohesion. Many thanks again to Minister Dr George Norton who appointed me as a hinterland boxing coach. One of the fathers from Chenapau was also thankful because he was only seeing football being addressed.”So now there is a big change in sports as he always wanted his sons to be boxers, so he is willing for this to continue. He is requesting a boxing gym in his village for his sons, daughter and his nephews and many others.