Composting has been around since the beginning of time and it is one of the best ways to feed your garden organically. Basically, composting allows you to turn organic waste into rich nutrients for your garden and, while composting is a very simple process, there are some basic steps that you should follow in order to build a good composting pile.
Keep in mind too, that just about anyone can compost and just about anything that was once alive can be used for composting. You don’t really even need a special bin or box to contain a compost pile. All you really need is the compost material (although some kind of container is recommended just for the sake of tidiness and for keeping rodents, flies and creepy crawler types away).
Material for composting can come from dead grass, leaves, shrubs, and lawn trimmings as well as left over fruits and vegetables from the table. Most home composts are contained in old trash bins with lids or even boxes made from spare wood or wire frames. The most important thing is that the pile of compost be exposed to air.
Another key to successful composting is layering. Composts should have alternating layers of green and brown organic materials. The green organic material should consist of fruits, vegetables and grass clippings, for example, whereas the brown organic material should come from dry leaves, twigs or small pieces of wood. If you have too much green organic material the compost will become too high in nitrogen whereas too much brown organic material in the compost will make it too rich with carbon. Too much nitrogen may cause slime and too much carbon may cause the composting process to move too slowly.
Maintenance of your compost pile or bin is also important. Don’t let the pile dry out. It should be regularly checked to see that its moisture is maintained and it should be watered if there is not enough moisture. It must also be regularly mixed and fluffed to make sure that the entire compost pile is exposed to adequate amounts of air. Mixing the compost pile approximately every two weeks should be sufficient. It is also best, but not absolutely necessary, if your compost pile is directly in the sun and if your compost is not inside a container of some type, the best place for it is directly on the soil.
While knowing how and what should go into your compost pile is important, knowing what should not go into your compost pile is equally important. Chicken, dairy, fish, and meat products should never go into a compost and neither should human waste or pet waste, fats and oils, diseased plants, or even plants that have been sprayed with herbicide.
Composting is a simple process and easily learned. You will also reap many benefits from composting. Not only will you be enriching your soil when you mix it with the compost pile, but you will be disposing of unwanted materials in an earth-friendly way, thereby helping to minimize the amount of garbage dumped into landfills and aiding mother earth in the process.