Composting 101 -- Making Compost in Composting Bins and Compost Piles
Making your own compost pile at home can be an easy and inexpensive project for anyone who wants to give a try at making their compost and save money. Most of what you need is considered trash by most people, but to those with a good eye, it is a compost goldmine! If you are tired of having to go buy someone other persons compost and have want to have a more sustainable garden, then you should think about just making your very own!
What Supplies You Will Need to Start Your Own Compost Pile:
First you need,
1) a open area where your compost pile can fit (about 3 feet x 3 feet will be good)
- You can either make your compost in a Box that you make yourself or buy, or you can make a Pile on the ground (soil or dirt, not on concrete).
2) a good Water Source, you want to keep the Compost moist for the organisms inside.
Then you want to gather,
3) "Brown" Dry Organic Material which is Carbon-Rich and helps with producing heat inside the compost
- Some Good Materials are: Fallen Leaves, Dry Grass, Dead plants, Branches, Old Paper or Cardboard.
4) "Green" Wet Organic Material that is rich in Nitrogen and Helps Organisms inside the Compost, to Reproduce.
- Some Good Materials are: Grass clippings, Leftover fruits and vegetables(any type of peelings or rinds work), Rotting Plants(Fruits/Vegetables/crops/flowers)
Also a Great Extra to add to your Compost Pile are earthworms, and you can find in the soil for free! The Earthworms will eat through the organic material and help to make your compost.
Making Your Compost Pile
First, You will want to start by layering about a good 4-6 inches of Brown materials on the bottom of your compost pile
Next, you want add some Green materials on tops of the initial browns,
Then, start to consecutively layer Green and Brown Materials evenly, and Make sure to water over your pile every once in a while, and keep it moist
Keeping Your Compost Pile Happy
Make Sure to aerate your compost pile, use a shove or pitchfork, to stir the different materials in your compost pile around, this will help your compost develop fast and better.
Remember to aerate your pile 1 to 2 times a week! An non aerated compost pile will take a long time to develop. You want to make sure you keep your compost pile at a temperature between 120-160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don't add Meats or bones, for those materials will not decompose into compost like you want.
A good starer for your compost is to add some Garden soil to it, for this helps with inoculation.
Tony Callaghan explains that, "Compost inoculation is adding bacteria to start the population growth. With the right food and conditions, 1 bacterium could multiply into 8 billion bacteria in 13 hours. Only a small number are needed to start the process, i.e. inoculate the heap. There is usually enough bacteria in the air (as spores), on your waste plant/food going into the heap to start. A handful of garden soil, old compost or composted wood chip sprinkled onto waste will ‘inoculate’ a brand new bin (at no cost), after this there is enough bacteria on the walls etc. (The usual estimate quoted is that 1 gram of soil typically contains 1 billion bacteria)."
This part isn't necessary, but it really helps the process move along and isnt that hard to do! If you can't find some garden soil ask a friend who gardens or a local farmer!
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