The Heart of Composting

What most people refuse to convey to you is that the composting of organic materials happens naturally in your compost pile, regardless of how much attention or care you put in. There are so many ways to create compost and compost piles, those who tell you there is only one way to do things is not being forthright. Each gardener has his or her own system for producing fertile compost to add to their gardens. Below are a few super-simple ways to create the nutrient rich compost you and your garden desire.

One way is to just throw everything onto a pile. No container, no bins, just a heap. Ingredients to include are all yard wastes, including weeds, garden plants, dry leaves and grass clippings. After your garden surplus, feel free to add kitchen scraps such as fruits and vegetables, egg shells, and even paper products (be sure to never add fats, meats, or dairy products to your heap). All you have to do now is wait. Compost will begin to form, first at the bottom of the heap. Worms and other microorganisms will work their way towards the top of the heap as the organic waste starts to decay.

If you have access to some straw bales, this can spark another way to make compost easily. Make a simple bin to hold the compost ingredients by stacking the straw bales two high into a 3-sided enclosure. You will most likely need about 10 bales. The straw bales do a great job of holding the compost and also retaining heat and moisture. Make loose layers of both brown and green ingredients, and every so often add a layer of soil. Within a couple of years the bales will decompose and become part of the compost; the materials from your old straw bale bin will work fantastically in your new one; and the cycle continues.

Another way that works well right inside the garden is sometimes referred to as shovel compost. If you only have a small amount of waste, this is the method for you. Simply choose any spot where you would like to enrich the soil, and dig a hole. Dump kitchen scraps into the hole and cover them with soil, chopping with the shovel to mix the soil and scraps. The organic matter will become compost, with no extra work on your part at all! You can do this in your garden beds also, and next year have a richer soil for your vegetables to enjoy.

Whatever your choice of composting techniques, the ingredients for your compost heap need to be the right mix. Always blend fresh green nitrogen rich matter, dried carbon rich matter, and garden soil. The green materials can include grass clippings, kitchen scraps, garden waste and even weeds that have not gone to seed. The brown materials are normally tougher dry matter like dried leaves, sawdust, straw, newspaper and even chopped up vegetable stalks. By adding some dirt, manure, or partly decayed compost, you will be introducing the microorganisms and worms that do the work. ??Build your compost with balanced amounts of these three types of materials and soon you will be using your own rich black compost to feed anything your garden grows.

Happy Composting!

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