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How to Begin Your Compost Pile

Aug 15, 2016

Compost is known as the organic material which is used to help plants grow and is added via the soil. By making compost at home from waste you are keeping the materials out of the landfills, you are helping the earth and you will save you a pretty penny as well. Composting reduces the need for chemical sprays and fertilizers and reduces your carbon footprint. Your plants will thrive from this type of compost and it is easy to compost garden waste and put it to good use.


The Basics of Composting

Compost ingredients are simple and there are three types of ingredients which are essential in making your compost work.

Browns - The Browns provide carbon for your compost. The brown material includes dead leaves, twigs, sticks and other brown branches which are no longer needed in your garden.

Greens - The greens provide nitrogen for your compost. The green material is known as waste that you don't need but is in effect still alive such as vegetable clippings, leftovers, fruit scraps, coffee grounds and grass that has been cut and gathered.

Water - The last and most important ingredient is water. Water provides moisture to help break down the elements. For the compost to develop properly it needs to have a certain amount of water added to it.

Every compost pile should have an equal amount of greens, browns, and water. Having different layers of each type of material is also essential to your compost.


What You Shouldn't Put in Your Compost Pile

Black Walnut leaves or twigs as they can be harmful to certain plants.

Coal or charcoal ash as this is again harmful.

Pet Wastes as this can contain bacteria and viruses which can be harmful to humans

Fats, grease, and oils shouldn't be added as they can cause pests and rodents and they leave a stinking odour behind.

Diseased or insect-ridden plants shouldn't ever be added to the compost pile as they will transfer back the disease to healthy plants.


What You Can Put in Your Compost Pile

You can add:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Tea Bags and Coffee Grounds
  • Shredded newspaper, paper, and cardboard
  • Hay, straw, leaves, yard trimmings, and grass clippings
  • Sawdust and wood chips
  • Houseplants
  • Hair and Fur
  • Cotton and rugs from wool


How to Begin Your Compost Pile

There are so many different varied ways to make a compost pile and there really is no correct way to do it. The tools you will need will be a pitchfork, a shovel and a hose with a spray head. You will need to maintain the compost pile by regularly turning and mixing it.

To start your compost heap in your garden you need to find a cool, shady spot which is near a water source. Add brown and green materials to your pile, make sure the bits are broken down if they are of larger size. This will help your compost heat turn into useable compost quicker. Make sure you moisten all the materials as they are added. Once you think your compost pile is established then mix more grass clippings and green waste and bury any vegetable waste about ten inches under the surface allowing it to break down.

As an extra option, you can cover the top of the compost material with a cover such as a tarpaulin to keep the moist in.

If you don't have any space outside, then you can use a compost bin inside but be sure to track what is going in so it doesn't smell. Again if it is controlled it won't attract pests or rodents.

Your compost heap should be ready to use in two to five weeks depending on moisture and the breakage of the materials.

How to Begin Your Compost Pile