Composting is the easiest and most effective way to provide your garden with the nutrients it needs to grow. Also, it cuts down on waste, helps the environment, and more. Let’s go over some tips to help you create your composting system. Then, you’ll be ready to make composting a part of your gardening routine.
Ingredients Needed for a Compost Pile
Healthy compost systems contain three categories of ingredients. You will need brown materials, such as twigs, branches, and dead leaves, in your compost pile. Green materials like fruit scraps, vegetable waste, and grass clippings are also vital. Finally, you need water, so the compost pile develops as it should.
Maintaining a balance between the categories is critical. Two-thirds of the pile should consist of brown materials, and one-third should be green materials. Next, add just enough water to keep the compost moist without being wet.
What to Avoid
Your compost pile is not the same as a garbage bin. While you can include items you would normally throw away, you do need to avoid some things. Don’t put meat, weeds, diseased plants, black walnuts, or sawdust in the compost pile. Also, avoid any fruit peels treated by pesticides, and if you are going to use your compost pile on food crops, don’t compost pet manure.
Setting Up the Compost System
You can place your compost pile directly on the ground or use a bin. Regardless, choose an area that’s dry and shady to set up your system. Start with a layer of straw or twigs, and then alternate brown and green layers. When you add the final layer, add green manure to the pile. Make sure the compost pile is moist, and add water as needed. You can also help the pile stay moist by covering it with plastic sheeting.
Turn the Compost Pile
Use a shovel to turn the compost pile every three weeks or so. You will also mix in new materials as you add them. You don’t have to worry about sticking to the layer system when you add new materials. Instead, mix them into the pile.
Spread the Compost
You can tell if your compost is ready by how it looks and smells. It will give off an earthy smell when it’s finished. It will also have a dark brown appearance and crumble in your hands. When it reaches that point, you can spread it in your garden.
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Tools to Make Composting Easier
There are some tools you can get to make composting easier. Many people use tumblers. If you use one, you won’t have to turn the compost. People also get compost bins, so they don’t have compost on the ground. This is an easy way to keep pests away from the pile.
No matter if you use tools or put a pile on the ground, composting is a great way to fuel your garden and protect the environment. Use these tips to start today!