Posted by admin on September 28, 2010
Composting can be very simple, but before you get started, you’ll want to find the right composting technique for you. There is such a wide variety of different methods and techniques, some are simple while others are far more complicated. For many years composting had a bad reputation for generating smelly backyards and attracting critters, but good composting doesn’t smell and is really easy to perform.
Organic material will always decompose by itself, but if you can make it happen faster and use the nutritious material for your garden with very little effort, then you really can take advantage of making less trash.
Here are the following things to take into consideration before you begin composting.
Your Composting Site
The location of your compost pile should be:-
1. Check with your local council if there are any ordinances that will regulate where you can put your pile.
2. Convenient or at least fairly convenient in relation to the kitchen. If you are not going to want to keep your scraps in the kitchen at all, then you’ll need to get to your pile easily.
3. Have good drainage. You don’t want your compost pile to be soaked, so it should have a little drainage. If you are going to build or buy a composter that is off the ground, then this won’t be a problem, but for compost piles, drainage is vital.
4. Direct sunlight could dry your compost pile out, but generally speaking this can easily be overcome and the heat from the sun will help to keep your compost warm and working.
5. Remember that your pile will attract small bugs and ants, so keep that in mind when choosing your location.
Composing Bins and Containers
Is it really important to have a bin or a container? Of course this will keep your pile from spreading as they all do and will keep your composting contained. If you choose to invest in a bin, you will need to also invest in a pitch fork in order to turn your compost. Some of the composting barrels allow for turning using a winder, or you can buy ones that have motor, but that kind of expense is only worth it if you are composting on a commercial level.
Alternatives to a container or bin will include just fencing off a section of your garden using chicken wire. Wood crates are also very popular as they allow air to circulate. Both of these methods are easy to build, cost effective and work very well.
Hot or Cold Composting
Depending on your circumstances, you may decide to do either hot or cold composting. Cold composting is often referred to as ‘no turn’ composting as a result of you not having to work your pile. You only include organic material and leave it to do its own thing. Cold composting takes much longer to decompose.
Hot composting is far more popular because the decomposition takes place much faster and allows for more greens to be added. Green veggies and cuttings will produce more heat in your composting pile. A hot, active compost pile can and will produce good quality compost within three to four months. While a cold pile will take close to a year to produce the same.
If you decide on a hot pile and want to know what temperature is ideal, you can purchase a composting thermometer from your local garden store. For novices, this is an unnecessary expense and if you aim is to reduce your trash and composting is not about producing huge amounts of compost fast, then your compost heap will work fine at any temperature.
Your Composting Ingredients
Starting your compost pile means including a particular recipe of ingredients to get the balance right. The materials are broken into categories of which the most important being green and brown compost materials.
Information on Green Compost Materials:-
1. Green compost materials create heat. By including them you will increase the temperature of your compost pile.
2. They are derived from kitchen scraps, fruit and veggie peels, greens, green leaves and green cutting and clippings from garden.
3. They create odors. In order to prevent your compost pile from smelling you will want to either bury them sufficiently in the pile or to cover with brown compost material.
Information on Brown Compost Materials:-
1. Brown compost materials reduce heat and will slow your composting down.
2. They include dry leaves, hay, dry grass and straw as well as sawdust.
One of the best ways to start your compost pile is to do so in layers. You can start with leaves and grass cuttings, then add some soil and then put your kitchen scraps in. Then top again with leaves and soil and you may even decide to add manure. Other items to include in your compost pile will be coffee grounds, leaves, grass and manure. Do not include any meat or dairy product in your pile as this will cause rotting rather than decomposing and will attract rodents.
How Wet Should Your Pile Be?
The best way to describe how moist your pile should be is like a squeezed out sponge. If you don’t experience much rain, then sprinkle water on your pile every few days. If your pile gets too waterlogged, you will need to think about drainage or raising it. For a little treat once in a while, add a little beer to your pile. The yeast will reaction positively with the bacteria and will keep your pile healthy.
Airing and Turning Your Pile
In order to have a healthy composting pile, you will need to maintain it a little. Depending on your particular choice of pile, bin or container will reduce or increase the amount of maintenance it will need. A pile requires little maintenance, with just the occasional turning about once a week to improve the air circulation. Airing your pile will increase the decomposition process and is integral to the overall health of your compost. The bacteria and organisms that produce humus need air to live. The best way to turn and air your pile is done with a pitch fork.
When Is Your Compost Ready?
After a few months, you’ll want to know if your compost is ready. Humus looks like very dark soil and smells earthy. Now you are ready to use it in your garden to nourish your plants. There isn’t one single way to compost so whatever route you take, you can and will generate compost for your garden. With so many different options, you are sure to find the right one for you and your lifestyle and remember that at the end, you not only help to reduce landfill, but also produce humus, often referred to as garden gold.
Go Green with Composting. Learn how to start, what to do and how to fix your composting problems. Discover Vermicomposting and How to do it FREE.
From the best bins available at the best prices to tips and tricks on how to compost in your back yard quickly and effortlessly, visit Composted – Composting Guide