Compost is one of the most important supplements for your garden. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to add nutrients to it because it saves you from having to buy things like fertilizer. These nutrients feed plants and results in growth and restores vitality to soil that has been stripped of these nutrients. Not only is it cheap and easy to make, but you are doing the environment a favor too.
How to start
Before starting any project, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary tools to see it through. To start composting depending on where you live you will need either a composter which is a container where you will be putting all your composting materials or big enough open piece of land in the yard.
You need a shovel or a trowel depending on how big your composter is to turn the compost. You might want to use a leaf shredder to break up the leaves and speed up the composting process. Check out thebestleafblowers.com to learn more about this. You also need something to cover your compost pile to keep it from getting to wet in the rain and trap the heat inside.
Now that you have all your tools, lay some twigs or some straw down first. This will allow drainage and assist in aerating the pile. Once your layer of twigs or straw is down, you can start adding other composting materials in layers.
The materials you use come from your own kitchen, garden or household activities. They can include things like uncooked food scraps, tea bags, or dry materials like straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes.
You want to add all the materials in thin layers to avoid clumping which will cause the material to take longer to break down and slow down the decomposing process. To speed up the process add well-rotted chicken manure or any nitrogen source that will activate your compost pile and speed up break down.
Add moisture. You need to keep the compost pile moist to aid the decomposing process. You can water the pile occasionally or let rain do it for you. However, you only want the pile to be moist not soaked so cover the pile when it rains to prevent over-watering.
Remember to turn the pile every few weeks. This allows air to move through it as Oxygen is a key factor in composting.
Speed up the process by chopping larger materials into smaller pieces. Sprinkle grass clippings and leaves in thin layers to avoid clumping. This will limit aeration and slow down the process. Mix the leaves and grass clippings with other materials.
Add an activator. Activators are materials that kickstart decomposition and speed up composting. These include things like leaves, grass clippings, young weeds and manure.
Add soil from the garden to your compost pile this will help to mask odors and microorganisms in the soil will assist with accelerating the composting process. Use a covering to place over your compost pile which will help trap odors.
Additionally, whenever you add new material to the compost pile cover it with a layer of grass to mask odours. This will also work for keeping pests like fruit flies away. Make sure that no fruit or vegetable matter is exposed because that attracts pests. You can also add lime or calcium to your compost pile to help with this.
What Not to Do
Don’t throw meat, bones and fish scraps into your compost pile. This will cause nasty odors and attract unwanted pests. You also want to stay away from adding things like perennial weeds and diseased plants because you’ll only be adding those seeds and diseases back into your garden once you work the compost into the garden soil. Don’t include pet manures in compost that will be used on food crops.
Things like banana peels, peach peels and orange rind may have residues of pesticides on them which do not belong in compost so avoid putting those things in your compost pile. You can add sawdust to your compost but remember to spread the sawdust in a thin layer so that it doesn’t form clumps. Also, there should be no residues of machine oil from cutting equipment in the sawdust.