Monday, January 28, 2008

How To Make a Compost Pile

You might have noticed the videos I have posted here. Composting is one of the Cheapest easiest things you can do to help your pocketbook and the environment. Everything that goes into the compost you already have and probably throw away. That's right you are throwing money saving materials right into the garbage. Go ahead smack yourself on the head then read how to make a compost pile and turn that trash into Brown Gold for your yard.

Did You Know That Compost Can...
Suppress plant diseases and pests.
Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
Promote higher yields in your garden.

The best thing about composting is it won't cost you a thing. Yes if you need to worry about a neighborhood association you might want to invest in something a little more attractive but it is total unnecessary.

The first step for creating a compost heap is to pick a location. You want to pick somewhere that is out of your way. I have a small corner of my yard that is out of site of the sitting and playing areas but easy to get to. You want it to be exposed to the elements Sun and rain will help move things along.

Next You have to decide if you want to have your compost contained. If you have kids or pets or both you might want a way to keep them out of it. The easiest thing to do is get some pallets, which can often be gotten for free or very very cheap. Get four of them and wire them together to make a bin. Just remove one of the sides when you need to get to the compost. If you want to get fancy put some hinges on one side to make a door.

Now it's time to start loading up the compost bin. A good pile of compost needs two types of materials Greens and Browns.

Green Material: Are high in nitrogen content

Green plant material (fresh or wilted) such as crop residues, hay, grass clippings, weeds
Manure of poultry and herbivorous animals such as horses, cows

Fruit and vegetable trimmings
Coffee grounds and filters
Tea bags

Brown Material: Are high in carbon content

straw-type material,
Autumn leaves
Sawdust or wood chips
Paper and cardboard (such as corrugated cardboard or newsprint with soy-based inks)

Cotton rags
Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint

Fireplace ashes
Hair and fur
Nut shells

You'll want to layer the materials together and make sure you have a layer of brown material on top of the Green material. The green material breaks down much quicker then the brown material and by layering them it will increase the speed at which the Brown materials break down. Oh I almost forgot throw a little soil from your yard into the mix to quickly introduce the organisms that will help start the break down

You will also need to make sure your compost pile can breath. Yes there are living organisms doing the work here and they need oxygen. This can be done in several ways: Turn the pile over, that's right just flip it over. This method takes a lot of work and I would suggest building a second bin to move the compost into this will keep things neater. You can use a compost tool which is poked in the compost pile and when pulled out two blades pop out and loosen up the pile (this is what I use) or a friend of mine puts posts into his pile before he adds his composting materials then after a couple weeks removes the posts which adds air to the lower levels.

Now there are things you should not add to your compost pile.

Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
Coal or charcoal ash
Might contain substances harmful to plants
Dairy products (e.g., butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, yogurt)
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Diseased or insect-ridden plants
Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
Fats, grease, lard, or oils
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Meat or fish bones and scraps
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)
Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
Might kill beneficial composting organisms

Now you know what to do get started today.

Want More Check out these Resources:

Worlds Best Compost
Composting for Profit

1 comment:

Mom said...

Yay, Randall said I can start a compost in our back yard. I have the perfect spot. With your information here, I have everything I need.

By the way, I put your site in my Sites to See...