Making Your Own Organic Compost Pile
Creating your own compost is a worthwhile undertaking for any garden. For those interested in organic gardening and growing flowers, fruit and vegetables the organic way, a compost pile is a must-have, according to Scott Meyer from Organic Gardening magazine.
If you have yet to make your own compost, autumn is the best time to start because much of your garden waste can be used as a base for a compost pit. In this clip, Ron Corning talks to Scott Meyer about how to go about making a compost pile.
Scott starts by explaining how beneficial compost is for the garden. It is a soil conditioner, it prevents weeds, it’s a fertiliser. Compost is created from kitchen and garden waste. You, the gardener, simply manages the process so the compost’s ingredients thoroughly break down to produce an intensely nutrient rich compound.
Composting is easy and inexpensive, you don’t need a special bin. You can use a roll of chicken wire instead. This is a much cheaper alternative to ready made bins and pots. Ideally, the compost pile needs to be big enough to allow complete decomposing. 3ft x 3ft x 3ft is recommended here. The more weight and pressure of your waste materials, the better the decomposition.
When starting out, the correct material to begin with comprises a mix 3 to 1 of ‘brown’ and ‘green’ waste. Brown waste includes dried garden waste such straw and shredded leaves. Scott recommends using these as a base layer. Then you can add ‘green’ ingredients such as grass clippings, kitchen waste like peelings, teabags, eggshells, garden plants, cut flowers, coffee grounds, manure from herbivores including chickens, horses, cows, and sheep (if you have them!).
It’s important to allow air to circulate which means the decomposing materials won’t smell and won’t attract animals. Part of this process involves turning the compost regularly. If it’s turned once a week, within two months you will have compost, says Scott. As part of the process the centre of the compost pile will start to get warm. You may see steam rising. Move this material to the outside so that the outside matter, which hasn’t started to decompose, can be brought into the middle. This is why it’s important to turn it regularly. If you never turn it it will take around six months to convert.
Remember too that the pile must be kept damp, not soaked.
When the compost is ready, you simply spread a half inch layer around the growing plants. If planting or transplanting, put a little compost in each hole to really help the plants grow.
Organic living is very much about using resources that are readily available, recycling, reusing and reprocessing. Composting encapsulates this philosophy, and the only real cost is that of buying a roll of chicken wire.
Filed under: Organic Farming
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