The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
A while back reader Christine asked me to write about compost. She wants to recycle waste from her kitchen and garden rather than send it to a landfill. Composting and mulching are great ways to make your waste work for you.
Compost needs nitrogen to get it to heat up quickly. There are compost starters you can buy in a box but are expensive and I think more a gimmick than necessary. Early spring grass clippings are high in nitrogen and free if you have a lawn. Alfalfa meal is inexpensive and high in nitrogen if you don’t have grass. A few cups of that added to your pile will start the process and the balance of the bag is great fertilizer for your roses. Be sure to mix any organic fertilizer you buy into the soil so the microorganisms can break it down to release the nutrients. A pile with a good mix of ingredients will decompose and will smell earthy. The pile that just rots and is smelly has too much of one material.
There are 2 ways to make compost: aerobic and anaerobic.
I hope this has been a helpful overview and perhaps an incentive for you consider composting in the near future. Happy composting Christine!!