How To Grow Tomatoes, homesteading and small vegetable gardens

Compost- How to Turn Your Organic Scraps into Fertile Soil

We all know we need to use compost, but what is it, and can we make it ourselves?

Composting is a simple and effective way to turn your kitchen and garden waste into nutrient-packed soil that can improve the health and productivity of your plants and vegetables. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, composting is an easy and cost-effective way to reduce waste, improve soil quality, and promote a healthier and more sustainable environment. After all, you are turning your garbage into fantastic soil.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at how to make and use compost, including the best materials to use, the key steps in the composting process, and tips for troubleshooting common problems.

Let’s get to the basics; how to construct your compost pile:

Choose a location:

Select a level, well-drained spot in your garden for the compost pile. Ideally, it should be in partial shade to prevent it from drying out too quickly.

Compost does not necessarily need to be in direct sunlight, but it can help speed up the composting process if it is. Direct sunlight can help to increase the temperature inside the compost pile, which can help break down the organic material more quickly. However, too much direct sunlight can also dry out the compost, so it’s important to strike a balance.

If your compost pile is in a sunny location, it’s a good idea to cover it with a tarp or other covering to help retain moisture and prevent it from drying out. Alternatively, you can also choose to place your compost bin in a partially shaded location to help regulate the temperature and moisture levels.

how to make compost

Gather Compost Materials:

Start by collecting brown and green materials for your compost pile. Brown materials include dry leaves, twigs, and shredded paper, while green materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and coffee grounds. Aim for a mix of about 50% brown materials and 50% green materials.

Layer the Materials:

Begin by laying down a layer of brown materials, followed by a layer of green materials. Add a few shovelfuls of garden soil or finished compost to introduce microorganisms that will help break down the materials.

Water the Compost Pile:

Moisten the pile with a hose or watering can to ensure that it stays damp. The materials should be about as moist as a wrung-out sponge.

In general, aim to keep your compost pile moist but not waterlogged, and turn it thoroughly regularly. With the right conditions and regular maintenance, your compost pile should break down quickly and provide a rich source of nutrients for your garden.

Turn the Compost Pile:

Every few weeks, use a small pitchfork or a strong garden fork to turn the pile, mixing the organic matter to allow for better aeration and decomposition. This will also help speed up the composting process.

I have heard that you need to turn your pile every day but you don’t need to do this. However, regular turning can help speed up the composting process. Turning the compost pile helps to aerate it, bringing fresh oxygen into the pile and helping to break down the organic material more quickly. It also helps to mix the different layers of materials in the pile, ensuring that they are evenly distributed and have access to the right balance of carbon and nitrogen.

Aim to turn your compost pile once every week or fortnight. However, this can vary depending on the size of your pile, the materials you are using, and the temperature and moisture levels in your compost bin. If your compost pile is small or you are using a compost tumbler, you may need to turn it more frequently. If your compost pile is large and well-maintained, you may only need to turn it once every few weeks. This is where a little bit of experimentation comes in.

what is compost

If Seedlings Grow in Your Compost:

If seedlings begin to grow in your compost, you can either leave them to grow or remove them from the compost pile.

If you choose to leave them to grow, they may continue to grow and mature into healthy plants. However, keep in mind that the plants may not necessarily be the same variety as the original plant, as composting can break down and mix up the genetic material. Additionally, the seedlings may compete with other plants in your garden for nutrients and space.

If you choose to remove the seedlings, you can simply pull them out of the compost and discard them or transplant them to a different location. When removing the seedlings, make sure to do so gently to avoid disturbing the rest of the compost pile. You can also choose to sift the compost to remove any seeds or seedlings before using it in your garden.

Seedlings in your compost may be a sign that your compost is healthy and nutrient-rich, but they may not always be desirable or compatible with the rest of your garden. It’s up to you to decide whether to leave them to grow or remove them from the compost pile.

Making homemade compost is a simple and effective way to improve the health of your garden and reduce waste. By using a combination of organic matter, air, water, and time, you can create nutrient-dense compost that will help your plants grow strong and healthy.

Remember to choose a suitable location for your compost pile, layer your materials properly, and turn the pile regularly to ensure proper decomposition. With your effort and a little patience, you will enjoy the lasting benefits of a thriving garden with the help of your homemade compost.