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Make Your Own Compost

By Edited Aug 6, 2015 1 2

It is actually very easy to make your own compost. You don't need any fancy composting equipment, just a few composting supplies. A compost bin is the easiest method for home composting. You can turn any lidded large plastic bin or large plastic garbage can into your own compost maker. Any gardener will tell you compost is the best fertilizer you can ever use. There is no need for any expensive store bought fertilizers when you make your own compost.

Choose your compost bin location wisely. Find a place as far as possible from your house without it being inconvenient. Remember hot days, open windows and compost don't mix well! Also, remember to be a good neighbor and keep your compost away from their windows.

Use a large plastic lidded garbage can or storage container. Poke holes in the sides and bottom to aerate your compost. Use a drill to make holes approximately every 6 inches. You can also use a metal stake and a hammer to poke holes through the side of your compost bin.

Now you are ready to almost ready begin composting.

A few composting tips:

Compost needs both nitrogen and carbon. An easy way to know what provides nitrogen and what provides carbon is to color code them in your mind.

Carbon is Brown

Nitrogen is Green

The Brown includes dead leaves, small twigs, small scraps of wood (as long as it is NOT chemically treated), fireplace ash, straw, dryer lint, finely torn newspaper (no shiny print), sawdust and pine needles.

The Green includes green grass clippings, leftover vegetables, vegetable peels, fruit peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper coffee filters, tea bags and hair.

Never use the following in your compost bin or compost pile: any type of oil, grease, cheeses, dairy products, dressings, meat scraps, bones, fat, fish scraps, plant clippings with any type of disease, plant or grass clipping that any bug sprays have been used on, weeds, poison ivy, oak or sumac. An example of what NOT to use in your compost is, you have leftover vegetables that had butter melted on them or leftover salad with salad dressing.

Compost should be 2/3 brown and 1/3 green. This does not have to be exact, but close.

Now you are ready to start composting.

Start by adding a layer of twigs to provide air flow to the bottom of your compost bin. This is the most basic compost aerator you can have.

Layer in some brown material followed by green material with a layer of brown over the top. Green composting material should always be covered with brown composting material. Somewhere in the middle add a shovel full or two of garden soil.

Add water to your compost. The compost should be soggy.

Place the lid on your compost bin.

Add more brown and green matter to your compost pile on a regular basis. Another composting tip: Save your green matter in a zippered plastic bag in your freezer until you have enough to put in your compost bin. If you had a tablespoon of leftover peas, your may not be very likely to run outside and arrange the peas in your compost.

Every few days mix your compost. A pitchfork is makes the perfect compost turner. If you are using a storage container or garbage can with a very tight fitting lid you can roll or flip the compost bin. Your can be your own compost mixer.

Compost can be started at any time of the year. It can take up to 4 to 6 months for a large garbage can compost bin to be ready. If you plan on starting composting in the fall and you live in a cold climate, insulate the compost maker with straw around the outside or a large pile of dead leaves to help keep the compost active through the winter. Straw or leaves can provide just enough insulation to keep your compost active.

Compost is ready for use when it is dark brown and looks like rich earth.



Feb 27, 2010 5:30pm
Great information on how to make your own compost.
Aug 26, 2011 2:16pm
Great article. I have also found that adding water can decrease the composting time.
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