One of the easiest projects that you can do when it comes to gardening is to build a compost pile. It is also one of the most important parts of your garden, helping with fall cleanup and soil improvement.
Typically, all that organic material needs to begin breaking down is exposure to the elements and time, but for gardeners who want to add the boost to their gardens and speed up the process, composting is the solution that they seek.
For individuals who don’t know, compost can provide the nutrients that your soil and plants need. It also feeds microbes that are beneficial and ensures that it will keep all the resources that are valuable out of the landfills.
Here are some tips on how to build a compost pile at home:
Choosing the Right Location
The first thing that you need to do is to look for a place where your compost can easily be reached. That can be out in the open, or if you want it can be placed somewhere hidden behind screens.
It is always better if you have a compost pile that can easily be accessed because you will be adding new material, turning to add air, and removing any compost that is finished from the pile. If you are going to put it somewhere that is not easy to access, then maintaining the bin might become a chore that will cause you stop taking care of it.
You also need to water the pile often in summer months so make sure that the water hose can easily reach the area you’ve set up. Be sure to check if there are any ordinances in your town when it comes to placing the compost; you want to make sure that you are following them.
The best time to create a compost pile is during the fall season when materials are readily available, however, don’t let it stop you. A pile compost pile can be created at any time. The finished product should be ready after 3 to 4 months or when the spring season starts. With proper turning and carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, a summer compost pile can be ready in 1 to 2 months.
Building a Container for your Compost Pile
You can create a container out of wood pallets the first time you start building a compost pile. The size of the container will depend on the quantity of pile that you want to build, however, the recommended size is at least 3×3 ft.
A garbage can with holes drilled or the bottom removed will work too. Even forming a 10’ length of galvanized chicken wire into a circle is another simple method that can be set up in minutes.
Of course, you can upgrade to a sturdier container later on. Some municipalities offer compost bind for free or at a reduced rate.
Choose Nitrogen and Carbon Materials
When creating compost, it is essential to add at least 40% nitrogen often called green and 60% carbon often called brown. You can start layering out the materials and make sure to dampen them a little. For people who have an excess of green materials, you may add a newspaper as a carbon source. You can also use paper towels, twigs, dry leaves, and straw.
Start Layering Your Materials
The next thing that you need to do is to start layering the materials that you have. The first layer should be carbon ones, including straw, sod, hay, and sawdust. Layer two is consists of nitrogen materials including, garden debris, vegetable waste, fertilizers, and manures. The last layer which is the third one is the topsoil. Just remember to avoid sterile soil or ones that are treated with certain insecticides.
Maintaining Your Compost Pile
Turning your pile is easy and is used to increase oxygen inside the pile. This helps to speed up the breakdown. Some people never turn their pile at all, they let nature take its course. If you decide to turn your pile, start with the outer and middle edges of the pile and use a pitchfork.
You also need to water the pile if it gets too dry. Stirring and watering your compost pile will ensure that you are distributing the decomposition properly.
You can keep your compost pile by ensuring that the center of it will remain moist and hot. Now, once the center goes below 43 degrees Celsius, stir the compost using a shovel and start turning the materials around. The pile will emit steam whenever the weather is cooler, while you can feel the pile’s heat during warmer days.
Pests in the Pile
You will want to keep large pests like rodents and raccoons out of the garden compost bin. The best way to do that is to keep meat out of the pile and make sure an exposed food is covered with a layer of dry leaves, soil, or finished compost.
Some creatures, such as millipedes and slugs, are supposed to be present in your, they actually assist in the natural process of composting. Other insects such as wasps and hornets can become a problem. Head this off by keeping the compost is at a high enough temperature to discourage insects from nesting and laying eggs inside the bin.
If you see maggots in your compost bin, you should immediately remove them before they start multiplying. This can become a big problem if not taken care of.
As you can see, it’s fairly easy to build a compost pile at home. Having a compost bin in the garden will ensure that you can have nutrients for your soil and plants whenever they need it. If you happen to make extra, you can use compost to help cover the flower beds that you have.
Start gathering all the materials including the container that you will be using to make compost, for your garden to start reaping the benefits off of it.
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