Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to Make Compost





 Compost is like a mulch and fertilizer all mixed together.  If you're a gardener, you know how great it can be for your soil.  It adds valuable nutrients,  helps clay soil drain better, and sandy soil retain water.  So how do you make a compost pile?

1. Choose an area that is out of sight, yet convenient to your garden.  You don't want to have to look at your compost pile every day, but you also don't want to walk a million miles to get to it.

2.  Gardening stores sell all kinds of composting bins.  Some can get kind of expensive.  If you're short on cash, you can use a stiff wire mesh to contain your compost.  The ideal size is 3 ft by 3 ft by 3 ft.  Compost breaks down quickly with that size.

3.  Compost is made up of two basic things:  green garden debris and brown garden debris.  Green debris includes stuff like raw vegetable peelings from your kitchen, coffee grounds, grass clippings, and animal manure from herbivores (don't use dog feces or cat litter!)  Brown debris includes things like dry leaves, newspapers, and sawdust.  Things NOT to include are meat, oil, dairy, or plants treated with herbicides.  Green ingredients are high in nitrogen.  Brown ingredients are high in carbon.

4.  You'll want a mix with the ratio one part green debris to two parts brown debris.  Too much green debris makes your pile stink.  So, if your pile is smelling bad, up the brown debris - add newspapers.

5.  To jump start the microbial action, toss in a shovelful of finished compost or garden soil.

6.  Your pile should be moist, but not too moist.  Add some water if it starts to dry out.

7.  Turn the pile once a week to keep the airflow continuous.

8. Your compost should be finished in about two months.  You'll know it's done when you can't tell what any of the original materials were.

13 comments:

  1. When I was a kid, we had one. Egg shells, rabbit pellets, everything went into the pile.

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    1. I bet it made some pretty good compost!

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  2. We might even be able to grow a garden with a compost pile!

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  3. if i had a yard, i would totally do this

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    1. It's a great way to recycle some garbage!

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  4. Hi Sherry .. I'd love to have a compost heap - but not having a garden is a challenge! Great synopsis though .. and we had compost heaps when we were kids, and my one brother with a house in the country has compost heaps now .. useful!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks. I hope many people find this post useful.

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  5. Oh!! Good info! I've been wanting to make compost for a while but had no idea where to start.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad this came at a good time for you then!

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  6. My brother-in-law is all about composting. The guy has all these receptacles scattered about to collect "offerings" for his pile.
    Even though I tried to convince him otherwise, he doesn't buy my argument that empty beer cans are perfect.

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I agree, empty beer cans can work just fine. ;0)

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    ReplyDelete