How to Compost:
All composting requires three basic ingredients:
- Brown Waste(Carbon)—Includes materials such as dead leaves, sawdust, garden soil,
old compost, small branches and twigs
- Green Waste(Nitrogen)—Includes materials such
as grass clippings, vegetable & flower waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds, manure
Having the right amount of greens, browns, and water is important for compost development.
Ideally, your compost pile should have a ratio of 3 part browns to 1 part greens and alternate
layers of organic materials of different size particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost and the green
materials provide nitrogen, while the water provides moisture to help breakdown the organic matter.
Location: Area should be convenient for adding materials and removing compost. Make sure to put the
pile on a level well-drained area.
Heat it Up: Heat speeds up decomposing,
so sunlight is helpful but not necessity. Turn your pile frequently if possible, this quickens the breakdown of materials.
Keeping the pile moist by adding water or rainfall will be a benefit of composting. The perfect situation
is to have the pile slightly moist on the inside. A real soggy pile will breakdown slower.
Size of Compost: Try to work with an area no larger than a 3' x 3' x 3'. Its a lot easier
to try to turn a pile this size, and if its smaller than this size the pile does not heat up as quick. If you go larger, be
prepared to keep it managable for best results, it may require more turning of the pile to breakdown.
Making a Pile: Add small branches and twigs to the bottom, add greens and browns mixed and alternate
again to mix altogether to allow air flow throughout pile. Between layers sprinkle soil or old compost to innoculate the pile
with microrganisms. Then moisten the pile to the consistency of a damp sponge.
the Pile: Increase air circulation through out the compost pile by poking holes in the pile with a broom
handle or pitchfork. Turn the pile with a garden fork when the pile starts to cool down. The object is to move less decomposed
matter to the pile center.
Finished Product: It can take anywhere
from three months to two years to produce finished compost. The more attention you give the pile(performing tasks such as
frequently turning the pile, adding the right ingredients, maintaining a proper moisture level, etc), the faster the materials
will break down. It's ready when the dark rich soil like substance crumbles in your hands. There are many benefits of doing
this garden chore: improves soil conditioning and plant growth without any chemical fertilizers, keeps waste that would
otherwise be thrown in the landfills recycled and reused.