When you are thinking about building a compost pile, you’ll discover that there are plenty of reasons to do it.
In the first place, you will be creating very rich, all-natural fertilizer for your garden, and you will also find that you are going to make more use out of your table scraps.
You are doing something that can be very good for your garden, and it is also wonderfully natural, meaning that you are improving your garden without hurting the earth.
What you might not know is that building a compost pile is ridiculously easy to feed your organic garden!
- 1 What is Compost Pile?
- 2 What to Put in Compost Pile?
- 3 How Do You Start a Compost Pile?
- 4 Open Air Compost Pile
- 5 How To Put Together a Nutrient-Dense Compost Heap
- 6 When is the Best Time to Start a Compost Pile?
- 7 Are Compost Piles Dangerous?
- 8 Composting in a Bin instead of Compost Pile
- 9 Compost piles vs. Composting in a Bin
What is Compost Pile?
A compost pile is also known as a compost heap. It is a pile of the organic garden combined with the kitchen waste that decomposes and becomes compost.
What to Put in Compost Pile?
There are 2 types of materials you can use for composting,
- Brown materials(high in carbon) – examples of the materials are straw, leaves, pine needles, and newspapers.
- Green materials(high in nitrogen) – examples of the materials are chicken manure, food scraps, and coffee grounds.
How Do You Start a Compost Pile?
The first thing you need to do is layer some straw. Your compost pile will decompose faster if your brown materials are shredded.
Then, add a layer of green. Be sure to alternate your brown layers and green layers about 4 to 6 inches thick.
Depending on what kind of brown and green materials you used, the ratio will vary. Ideally, you should start with a 50/50 mix and watch your pile.
If your pile isn’t getting hot enough, add a little more green material like the chicken manure, or if it starts to have an ammonia smell add a little bit more brown material like the leaves.
You need to water in between layers because you want your compost pile to be moist like a damp sponge so that it decomposes quickly.
What material shouldn’t you use as compost?
I’ve given you some ideas on things that you can use for your compost pile. Now I’m going to tell you some things you shouldn’t use.
Even though manure is okay to be used for your compost pile, but you need to remember not to put in meat, dairy scraps, dog or cat poop, and human poop.
How long does it take for a compost pile to compost?
Your compost will decompose faster if you stir it or aerate it. It would help if you turned your compost pile at least once a week.
A well-aerated pile will turn out finished compost in a couple of months, where an unturned pile will take as long as a year. If you want to speed up the composting process, you can use a compost aerator. You can take some inoculate and add it to water and spray it on your compost pile.
This inoculate contains specifically cultured bacteria, enzymes, and fungus. Your compost pile has to get hot, and a great tool to measure the temperature is this compost thermometer. A good batch of compost should warm up to 120 to 160 degrees over time.
Such temperature will kill most of the seeds, but it will preserve the beneficial microbial life. Once it cools off, then it is ready to be used for the garden.
Open Air Compost Pile
It would help if you thought about the availability of air and moisture, the organic material such as grass clippings and leaves that go into it, and how much of the surface is ever exposed to the world.
These are the three elements that make up any compost heap, and you’ll soon realize that they are straightforward. Think about the placement.
To make sure that your compost is going to decompose properly, look for a semi-shaded area that can stay relatively moist.
When you are looking for a great place to put your pile, consider a few things. Are you going to be able to run out and drop some carrot peelings on it?
Also, make sure that it is close to a water source to sprinkle it with water regularly. Do remember not to keep it too wet because this will inhibit the amount of decomposition that can take place.
Make sure that you don’t lean your compost against anything made out of wood, as wood will decay over time. Look for a relatively level area and that drains well.
Then all you need to do is to start thinking about what goes into your pile. Start with a layer of organic matter. This might be grass clippings or table scraps, or fallen leaves. Then top it with a thin layer of fertilizer and then another layer of soil.
Repeat this until you have a pile that is roughly three feet high.
It is important to build up the pile as much as you can because the heat from the mass of the pile will start the decomposition process that is important when it comes to getting the very rich, plant nurturing material you are looking for.
This can make all the difference in the world.
Bad things for my compost pile
Several items you should not add to your compost pile include meat, cooking grease, dairy products, dog and cat waste, diseased plants, chemically treated wood, human waste, meat, and meat bones.
Compost pile care
When you are putting together a great compost pile, remember that it needs to be turned regularly. And that you should take the time that you need to give it the proper attention.
This is something that you need to think about, and at the end of the day, you will soon realize what a wonderful thing this can be for your garden.
How To Put Together a Nutrient-Dense Compost Heap
A compost heap is a purposely designed pile of decomposing organic matter. As the organic matter decomposes, it will come down to base elements that are very handy for any gardener and perfectly natural. When you are ready to start a compost heap, keep a few things in mind.
First, let’s start by thinking about how to make the compost itself. Find a good place in your garden where your compost will get a fair amount of shade, which will keep it from drying out.
On the ground, spread a layer of grass clippings, chopped leaves, and kitchen waste. Pile them on until you have something like a 6“ layer, and then cover it with around 3” to 6“ of finished compost, manure, or soil.
Using this formula, layer them together until you have a compost pile with 3 feet for the height. The size is important because it needs to produce sufficient heat to keep the compost sterile during the decomposition process.
When you are thinking about what you can use your compost for, you’ll find plenty of uses. You can use it as topdressing for your lawn, potting soil, or as an additive to improve the soil itself.
You will also find that this is a great way to get rid of table scraps and to really put something back into the earth. Working with compost is also a great way to teach your kids about how life on earthworks and for them to see decomposition in action.
If you wish to make sure that the compost pile is getting off to a good start, you may want to consider getting something like a compost activator. A compost activator is meant to get your compost pile going, and it can make things happen much faster. Cottonseed meal, blood meal, bone meal, and barnyard manure are all ideal activators.
There are just a few things you can do when looking at taking care of your compost pile. If it is close to a tree, you will need to turn it regularly so that the tree doesn’t grow into your heap.
If you want to keep it moist, make a divot in the top and sprinkle it with water. Remember that you want the heap to be damp but not wet because good bacteria cannot survive if it is too wet.
Take some time and make sure that you consider what your options will be when it comes to putting together a compost heap. This can help you move forward very quickly, and the results in your garden can be impressive!
When is the Best Time to Start a Compost Pile?
There is no best time for you to start your compost pile. You can start in spring, summer, fall, or winter. It just doesn’t matter. If you really want to have the best time to start your compost pile, it depends on what you are actually planning to grow in your garden.
Since different plants and crops are suitable for planting in different seasons, you can then determine when you should start composting.
Are Compost Piles Dangerous?
Kitchen waste like meat that is unsuitable for putting into a compost pile can be complex in composition. They tend to easy to rot and become very smelly. After composting, some kitchen waste will produce methane and high-concentration leachate, which may be explosive and may also pollute groundwater.
Even though an over-heated compost pile can cause combustion, this rarely happens because of the increased heat and speed of composting. We will add poultry manure to make a large compost pile and keep them moist. Therefore, it is doubtful to catch fire.
When composting, you must sort the material first, and then the perishable organic components are fermented to prevent the infiltration of heavy metals effectively.
We can ensure that the compost pile that we produced is not dangerous and harmless.
Composting in a Bin instead of Compost Pile
Many experienced composters and master gardeners will sometimes tell you that you don’t even need a compost bin to do your composting. You can do it in a big pile. You can do a 3-feet(Length) by 3-feet(Width) by 3-feet (Height) pile, and that’s going to be how you do your most effective composting.
Technically you know that’s more or less accurate if you’re good at composting and you’re experienced, and you know what you’re doing.
But this is not really working for some people, especially those with little or no experience in composting.
Many cities and municipalities have rules or laws against composting with uncovered piles because they can attract rodents, and the smell can also stink. If you do it correctly, there’s no smell, and it won’t attract rodents.
Your neighbors may not like it, and they may complain to the municipal council, which will make you in trouble.
Suppose you’re not good at composting. You might end up with a big trash heap instead of an operating functioning compost pile.
To avoid all these issues, you should do your compost with the bins. Compost bins are nice and neat. You can keep everything covered up to keep any rodents away.
If you live in an arid area, compost bins can help keep the moisture in since they’re dark in color. They will capture the heat from the sun and help your compost heat up. They are straightforward and convenient to use.
Compost piles vs. Composting in a Bin
- Hard to measure and keep the size of compost that you want.
- Can against the law in your city.
- It can be smelly.
- It can be messy.
- Can attract rodents.
- Your neighbor might complain about it.
- Easy to keep the size of the compost that you want.
- No stink smell is being released.
- Easy and convenient to use.
- Keep everything nice and neat.
- Keep the compost moist.
- Capture the heat from the sun.
If you have a tumbling compost bin, then it will ease your job of composting.