Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Do You Compost?

You can easily make your own compost! If you are allowed to have a compost pile in your neighborhood you can make one following these instructions:
  1. Place four wooden stakes or metal poles in the ground. Ideal size is 4 X 4, but a 3 x 3 or 5 x 5 will work as well. Poles or stakes should be 3 to 4 feet tall.  Wrap the poles with chicken wire and secure the wire together at the ends.
  2. Place course material in the bottom of the bin you just created. This can be straw, hay, pine straw, corn husks or other course material.
  3. Add an 8' to 10" layer of leaves.
  4. Add a shovel full of soil. Any soil will work.
  5. Add a 2" to 3" layer of grass clippings. It is best not to use grass clippings that have been treated with pesticides.
  6. Add water.
  7. Start layering over with step #3. Repeat until you fill the bin.
If you live in a neighborhood that has covenants against compost piles, you can purchase a closed one like this Closed Compost Systems.

What do you put in a compost pile?

Leaves and grass are staples of any compost pile. You will need to keep a good balance of brown material (leaves) to the green material (grass). It should be about a 25 to 1 ratio of leaves to grass.  Keep this ratio and the pile won't smell. You can add lots of other things to your compost pile as well.

If you don't have any leaves, you can add:
  • Newspaper
  • Paper plates (make sure the package states they can go into a compost pile)
  • Hay, straw or pine straw
  • Sawdust (not too much or you can compensate by adding more nitrogen)
  • Dryer lint
  • Wood ashes (not too many)
If you don't have any grass clippings without pesticides, you can add:
  • Vegetables scraps from the kitchen (veggie peelings, fruit peelings, eggshells, and/or coffee grounds)
  • Manure from animals that do not eat meat
  • Weeds (preferably before they flower and set seed)
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer (small amounts - you can use fertilizer if you don't have anything else in this list to replace the grass. It can also be used to help break down sawdust.)
To keep the compost pile healthy, you shouldn't add:
  • Diseased plants
  • Meat
  • Oily food scraps
  • Dog/cat manure
  • Invasive weeds
Turn the pile every three weeks or so if you want compost in about one year's time. If you don't want to turn the pile, you will still get compost, but it can take two to three years before it is ready. 

If you make an effort, you will never have to purchase potting soil again!

No comments:

Post a Comment

To help eliminate spam on this blog, your comment will be moderated.