6. Compost Activators: Do You Need Them?
While some garden stores may try to sell you “compost activators,” most likely you’ve got all the good microbes and fungi you need clinging to your garden/yard waste already. If your compost doesn’t have the ‘oomph’ you’d like it to, you can spray EM-1 solution on your pile, or add alfalfa meal and/or comfrey leaves to the pile to super-charge the contents.
Comfrey leaves are probably your cheapest and easiest, simplest bet. All you need is a bit of spare ground, or better yet, a garden bed you’re not using. Comfrey’s deep roots absorb nutrients from below the topsoil (subsoil), which is then transferred to and stored in the leaves. As this plant grows, the leaves and the soil they are grown in become nitrogen-rich, which is part of the reason growing this plant right in your garden can be a great idea.
It’s super easy to grow, and once the leaves are big enough you can use them for a covering for your compost or to make a beautiful compost tea (the leaves can irritate the skin so wear gloves when you’re picking them.
When your compost is ready, you should be able to see the difference between the dark, earthy, sweet soil it has become and the depleted soil from your garden. You’ll learn to love this beautiful humus, teeming with life and potential, and treasure it for the rich earth it has become. Whether you choose to use your compost to build the soil in your garden, fertilize new or existing pants, top dress your lawn, make a compost tea, lay it around trees and shrubs, on house plants or to create your own potting mix, I’m sure you’ll have a hard time ever throwing an apple peel or fall leaves in the garbage again!