How To Compost

    How To Compost

    Nov 07, 2017

    Some common misconceptions of composting is that it's too complicated, it'll smell funny, and that it's messy. These are all true if you compost the wrong way. Composting the right way is a very simple approach: Simply layer organic materials and a dash of soil to create a concoction that turns into humus (the best soil builder around!).

    Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. Cold composting is as simple as collecting yard waste or taking out the organic materials in your trash (such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells) and then corralling them in a pile or bin. Over the course of a year or so, the material will decompose.

    Hot composting is for the more serious gardener but a faster process—you'll get compost in one to three months during warm weather. Four ingredients are required for fast-cooking hot compost: nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. Together, these items feed microorganisms, which speed up the process of decay. With these simple steps on how to compost, you'll have all of the bragging rights of a pro!

    What You Need

    compost bucket, bucket, compost, gardening

    Composting is a great way to use the things in your refrigerator that you didn't get to, therefore eliminating waste. Keep a container in your kitchen, such as a tin bucket or crock, to accumulate your composting materials. These materials to start off your compost pile right:

    Fruit scraps

    Vegetable scraps

    Coffee grounds

    Eggshells

    Grass and plant clippings

    Dry leaves

    Finely chopped wood and bark chips

    Shredded newspaper

    Straw

    Sawdust from untreated wood

    Composting Tip: Think twice before adding onions and garlic to your compost pile. It is believed that these vegetables repel earthworms, which are a vital part of your garden.

    What NOT to Compost

    Not only will these items not work as well in your garden, but they can make your compost smell and attract animals and pests. Avoid these items for a successful compost pile:

    Anything containing meat, oil, fat, or grease

    Diseased plant materials

    Sawdust or chips from pressure-treated wood

    Dog or cat feces

    Weeds that go to seed

    Dairy products

    Step 1: Combine Green and Brown Materials -- compost, grass clippings, leaves

    To create your own organic hot-compost heap, wait until you have enough materials to make a pile at least 3 feet deep. You are going to want to combine your wet, green items with your dry, brown items. Start building your compost pile, alternating brown and green items. If your compost pile looks too wet and smells, add more brown items. If you see it looks extremely brown and dry, add green items and water to make it slightly moist.

    Step 2: Water Your Pile -- compost pile, watering compost, compost

    Sprinkle water over the pile regularly so it has the consistency of a damp sponge. Don't add too much water, otherwise the microorganisms in your pile will become waterlogged and drown. If this happens, your pile will rot instead of compost. Monitor the temperature of your pile with a thermometer to be sure the materials are properly decomposing. Or, simply reach into the middle of pile with your hand. Your compost pile should feel warm.

    Step 3: Stir Up Your Pile

    During the growing season, you should provide the pile with oxygen by turning it once a week with a garden fork. The best time to turn the compost is when the center of the pile feels warm or when a thermometer reads between 130 and 150 degrees F. Stirring up the pile will help it cook faster and prevents material from becoming matted down and developing an odor. At this point, the layers have served their purpose of creating equal amounts of green and brown materials throughout the pile, so stir thoroughly.

    Step 4: Feed Your Garden -- Compost, dirt, worms, garden, gardening

    When the compost no longer gives off heat and becomes dry, brown, and crumbly, it's fully cooked and ready to feed to the garden. Add about 4 to 6 inches of compost to your flower beds and into your pots at the beginning of each planting season. With just a few kitchen scraps and some patience, you'll have the happiest garden you can have.

    Credit: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/compost/how-to-compost/