Compost Pile

How to start your own Compost Pile

You may ask, Why is composting good? Well there are many reasons. Here are some to name a few:

  • It saves water by helping the soil retain moisture and reduce runoff.
  • It reduces the need for commercial soil fertilizers, which contain chemicals that are not healthy in mass quantities for the environment.
  • Helps protects plants from drought and freezes.

You can read more here about the benefits of composting as written by The University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The bigger question you may be asking now is, Why don’t I have a composting pile in my yard? Here is a helpful guide on how to start your own composting pile for your garden and yard.

To start, you will need a few things.

  • Carbon rich “brown” materials, like fall leaves, straw, dead flowers, and newspaper.
  • Nitrogen-rich “green” materials, like lawn clippings, vegetable peelings and fruit rinds (NO meat scraps), or animal manure*.
  • One or two shovels of garden soil.
  • A site that is at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide.

*Manure, even though brown in color, is full of nitrogen. However, do not use manure from carnivores such as cats or dogs.

Here’s how you start!

  1. Start by putting down a layer that is several inches think of coarse dry “brown” stuff in the area where you wish your pile to be.
  2. Top that with several inches of “green” stuff.
  3. Add a thin layer of soil.
  4. Add a layer of “brown” stuff.
  5. Moisten the three layers.
  6. Repeat.

You want to layer your pile until it is roughly 3 feet tall. A good rule to go by is a ratio of three parts “brown” to one part “green.” Don’t be alarmed however, it will take a little while before your pile gets that high. Every couple of weeks, use a garden for or shovel to turn the pile, moving around the compost and releasing gases. Move the material from the center out. It is important to keep your pile moist, but not wet. If you keep up with turning and keeping it moist, you will have earth worms in a few weeks and it will begin to turn into a black, crumbly, and sweet smelling fertilizer.

Keep in mind that you do not need a compost bin, to make a compost. Just a pile in your yard works. Some gardeners make a box to keep it in, to insure a neat pile. But that is totally optional!

Thank you Organic Gardening for the original information. You can read more here.

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