How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System: Secrets and Techniques You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables
The Back to Basics Growing series is published by Atlantic Publishing Group. One of the titles in this series is “How to Build, Maintain and Use a Compost System: Secrets and Techniques You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables” and it is written by Kelly Smith. Ms. Smith’s previous books have dealt with quilting, so I was intrigued on how much knowledge she would impart on composting, which is nothing like quilting. She definitely showed that she does know a thing or two about composting! She starts off by explaining what composting is and why people do it. In Chapter 1 she includes some “Common Myths About Composting,” such as: composting is difficult, it smells bad, isn’t for people who live in a city, you can use any type of worm if vermicomposting, etc., and then proceeds to debunk these myths. She moves on to discuss the different types of composting. Who knew there were so many?! There are compost bins, holes, trenches, cone digester systems, rotating barrels, stationary bins and indoor systems. Going into detail about each type, it makes it easier for the person who is new to composting to figure out which type would work best for them. She even includes a table that shows at a glance what type of system works in what type of living situation (e.g. rural, suburban, city, condo, and apartment). She also details about what can and cannot be composted and what type of substances can be added to help the composting process. As with the other Back to Basic books, this book also includes many case studies throughout where individuals share their stories about composting. I like the personal touch that the case studies add. In Chapter 4, there are instructions on how to make your own composting bins. These can be made out of many things: cardboard box, chicken wire, trash cans, trenches, concrete blocks, and more. There are instructions for those with experience in building on how to build a tumbling barrel composter which is covered in about 14 pages including pictures and diagrams. Building a composting system doesn’t have to cost much and is much more economical then purchasing one. The author covers how to use compost and about vermicomposting, which is composting using worms. In the back she includes the web address for each state’s Cooperative Extension System (these sites include agricultural information specific to your state) and information about companies who sell composters.Ms. Smith definitely has done her research and this book is a good one to keep on hand when deciding to compost. With it, the reader can make a determination of what type of composting would work best for them and cost effective ways to start and maintain a composting system.