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 are going to 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!
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 went through decomposes and becomes compost.
What to Put in Compost Pile?
There are 2 types of materials you can use for composting,
- Brown materials(which are high in carbon) – examples of the materials are straw, leaves, pine needles, and newspapers.
- Green materials(which are 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, it is best for you to start with a 50/50 mix and watch your pile.
If your pile isn’t getting hot enough, add a little bit more green material like the chicken manure, or if 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 you shouldn’t 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 by not 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. You should turn your compost pile at least once a week.
A well-aerated pile will turnout 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
You need to think 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 very easy. Think about the placement.
To make sure that your compost is going to be able to decompose properly, look for a semi-shaded area that is able to 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 so that you can regularly sprinkle it with water. 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 that is made out of wood, as wood will decay over time. Look for an area that is relatively level 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 that you are looking for.
This can make all the difference in the world.
Bad things for my compost pile
A number of 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 looking at 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 as well. When you are ready to start a compost heap, there are a few things to keep 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 that is having 3 feet for the height. The size is important because it needs to produce sufficient heat during the decomposition process to keep the compost sterile.
When you are thinking about what you can use your compost for, you’ll find that there are 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.
In case 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 that you can do when you are 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 there are good bacteria that cannot survive if it is too wet.
Take some time and make sure that you consider what your options are going to 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 for you to start your compost pile, then it depends on what are you actually planning to grow in your garden.
Since different plants and crops are suitable to be planted in different seasons, you can then determine when you should start composting.
Are Compost Piles Dangerous?
Kitchen waste like meat that is not suitable to put into a compost pile can be complex in composition. They tend to easy to rot and become very smelly. Some kitchen waste after composting will produce methane and high-concentration leachate, which may be explosive and may also pollute groundwater.
Even though over-heated compost pile can cause combustion, but this rarely happens because to increase the heat and the speed of composting, we will add poultry manure to make a large compost pile and keep them in a moist condition. Therefore, it is very unlikely to catch fire.
When composting, the material must be sorted first, and then the perishable organic components are fermented, in order to effectively prevent the infiltration of heavy metals.
By doing so, this can ensure that the compost pile that we produced is not dangerous and harmless.
Composting in a Bin instead of Compost Pile
A lot of experienced composters and master gardeners will sometimes tell you that you don’t even need a compost bin to do your composting. You can just 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 who have little or no experience in composting.
There are a lot of cities and municipalities that have rules or laws against composting with uncovered pile because they can attract rodents and the smell can also very 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.
if 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 from happening, it is best for you to do your compost with the bins. Compost bins are nice and neat, you can keep everything covered up to keep any kind of rodents away.
If you are living in an arid area, compost bins can help to 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 just very easy 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.
- Can be smelly.
- 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 being released.
- Easy and convenient to use.
- Keep everything nice and neat.
- Keep the compost in moist.
- Capture the heat from the sun.
If you have a tumbling compost bin, then it will ease your job of composting.