What You Can Use in Your Compost
Compost can be made from kitchen scraps and leaves. It’s true you can get compost from the garden store. But if you can make your own it will be even better. Or you can use both. Just make sure it says organic because you don’t want pesticides and chemicals in your compost.
Organic matter such as Kitchen scraps, wood chips, leaves and old newspapers break down over time into the soil. This can make good compost. That’s what composting is all about. It’s a great way to repurpose the different things you normally just throw in the garbage. In this way you will also help the environment.
It’s not hard to start a compost at home. This simple step-by step guide tells you all you need to know to start composting.
What can you use to make good compost?
Not all food scraps should be put in your compost bin. Here are things you can use to add to make your compost:
- Leaves, Woodchips, Paper filters, Coffee grounds
- Food and vegetable scraps, Grass clippings
- Cardboard ripped to pieces, eggshells
- The peels from fruit and vegetables, tissue paper and napkins
What You Should Not Use in Your Compost
Some things you should not add to your compost.
Some of these items may attract rodents and unwanted pests. While others may have harmful compounds that are not suited for plant life.
- Dairy products (They will attract pests)
- Baked goods (Attract pests and may increase the growth harmful bacteria)
- Pesticide treated lawn clippings (May kill microorganisms that are needed for the process of composting)
- Meat, poultry, and bones (these produce odor and attract pests)
- Pet waste (like cat litter, contain parasites and harmful bacteria)
- Plants that are diseased or infested with insects (These should not be put in compost. They will remain in the ground and spread to the other plants. So dispose of them properly in trash)
A good compost pile is an asset to any garden. It doesn’t matter how small your place is. There’s always a need for you to make good compost to amend the soil with organic matter.
The end product, good compost is a pile of soil that is rich. It contains lots of organic material and nutrients. It’s great for lawns, potting soil mix, and house plants. It’s also excellent for preparing flats for seeds. It can be used to improve the soil in flower beds and vegetable plots.
The fact is, you can make good compost from many organic materials including yard trimmings, paper products and food scraps. But just be mindful of the ones that contain harmful compounds. Not only will they attract rodents, but this will also affect the food you will be putting into your body!
Working With Your Compost
A partially shaded location is preferable to full sun. It’s also important to have good drainage.
A good working size is about 4 to 6 feet wide and about 3 to 4 feet in height. It can be any length you desire. To make a good compost, the coarse material should be at the foundation– such as weed stalk, twigs, leaves or sods. These will provide the air flow and drainage your compost will need.
On top of this foundation, you’ll be placing alternating layers of organic refuse. Like the kitchen scraps, leaves, manure and soil. The manure greatly increases the fertility of the compost.
Try not to implement woody material. It will take too long to break down. All types of animal manure are excellent for the process of composting. And don’t forget to add a bit of water to each layer until your bin is full.
The Secret of the Mix
Turn the pile of compost so the outer layer is transferred to the center. You need to do this regularly. Some people say daily. But I do it weekly, about 2 to 3 times. Sometimes when I’m out in the garden, I may do it more. But in the beginning, you may have to do it more often.
To make good compost, the moisture content of the pile is also important. The top of the pile should be loose in order to catch as much rain as possible. The pile should be thoroughly soaked in order to keep a moist consistency at all times.
Your compost should be ready when it is dark and crumbly, similar to soil but with an earthy smell.
You can use compost by mixing it with soil to put in your garden.
Make sure that the compost is complete. In other words, make sure it has gone through the cycle of breaking down all the matter. That it has been decomposed. If compost is still smoking, or has lots of big chunks, this means it’s not complete.
OUR GREAT SOIL BLEND
Here is the mix we’ve been using that has given us the best results:
1/3 Sand, 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 compost.
This results in a soil that has a great blend of naturally occurring nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium mixed in a medium that contains all the nutrients your plants need.
Beautiful quality soil is the key to a beautiful garden. So use quality compost and have a great harvest.