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How To Make Compost

Aug 17, 2007
It's not difficult to make compost you can do it in your back yard with no experience at all. Simply spread mixed amounts of ingredients atop one and other, make sure that they receive the air and moisture necessary and churn the piles to make sure that there is activity amongst the important bacteria.

The ingredients you use can be just about any natural ingredients. Coffee grounds, banana peels, grass clippings, sawdust, bark, vegetable matter, mulched leaves, grass, or branches. Any of this can be used as long as there are no chemicals present in the matter.

You can create compost either in special containers specifically designed for compost, or simply in piles that you designate for compost, funny enough called: Compost Piles. Each have their pros and cons. Piles can be tilled and churned more easily however a bin simply looks more orderly in a garden. Bins can also better provide the moisture necessary for composting to occur, as well as good temperature control. You will also find that if you begin with a compost pile / pit, that it also will attract earthworms which will assist with breaking down the ingredients of the compost pile.

Make sure you select a sunny spot for you project and start by placing a layer of plant waste; straw, hay, leaves, branches, old vegetables and fruits are excellent to use. Add a layer of manure and bedding, approximately 3 inches deep. Add a layer of top soil about inch thick (topsoil which has urine in it is considered to be a high quality ingredient however you need to confirm what the animals were fed so as not to introduce undue chemicals to your mixture). Sprinkle a small amount of lime on top of this, you can substitute this with dust or wood ashes to add to the mineral content of the compost. Make sure to add water often, continue to add layers and make sure to keep the compost loose and free to breathe.

The heap will begin to shrink and heat up within a few days. Turn it after 3 weeks with a hoe or pitch fork and do so again 3 more weeks after that. Make sure to turn out the entire pile so as to expose all of the internal bits that require aeration. Although, make sure not to turn the pile too much, heat needs to build in order to facilitate the decaying process, keep it moist but do not make it wet. Your compost should be ready in about 3 months.

When applying compost; timing and method have a lot to do with the age of the pile and the degree of composting that has already occurred. If fully matured, this pile will be rich in nutrients and the scent will be musky and earthy. If half completed, the smell and look will be far less rich and bits of fiber will still be seen in the pile. You should probably let it finish maturing at this point. You usually want to apply compost about month or so before you plant in order to let it properly mix with the existing soil. Store or cover your compost if it is to be kept for a long or cold period of time.
About the Author
Look up Eric Seminara's site Compost Site for more compost information
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