Apr 27

How to Make Compost From Yard And Garden Materials

How To Make Compost From Yard And Garden Materials (courtesy of PlantersPlace.com)

Hi! I’m Pam Bennett, state Master Gardener Coordinator. Let’s talk about how you can turn your yard waste into black gold, such as this.

Compost is a great soil amendment for your garden. It helps to improve drainage, and increase the quality and structure of your garden soil.

Pick an area of your yard that is open, has good drainage and is easily accessible, because you’re gonna be piling up your yard waste.

This is a typical, purchased compost bin, and they’re good for small gardens or small backyards. However, if you have a lot of yard waste, you might consider building your own compost structure. You can use:

Concrete Blocks
Recycled Old Wood Material
Chicken Wire, or Plastic-Coated Fencing Material

For a really big compost bin, consider using this pallet system. One section is for brand new yard waste, another section is for half-composted yard waste, and the final section is for the finished product.

There are 5 essential ingredients for successful composting:

Brown Stuff
Green Stuff
Fertilizer, for the organisms

The first thing you do to build a compost pile is add a layer of about 4 inches of brown stuff. Air, or oxygen, is gonna come from either turning the compost pile, or, incorporating large pieces of wood, like pine cones, large pieces of branches, or anything that gives you a little bit of air space.

The next thing that you do is add 4 inches of green stuff.

After the green stuff, add a light layer of already finished compost. This is gonna provide the microorganisms that are needed to break down the green stuff and the brown stuff.

The next layer is about a cup of fertilizer. This fertilizer is high in nitrogen and, again, feeds the microorganisms that are doing the job.

Then, finally, you want to water the compost pile. Don’t put too much water in to make it real wet; only add enough to make it somewhat of a damp sponge.

Finish building your pile to the top of the compost bin.

When you’re building your bin, the size should be 3x3x3, up to 5x5x5. This is where you’re gonna get the best composting to occur.

After you’ve completed the pile, let it sit for a couple of weeks and let the microorganisms do their job.

Then, take your pitchfork and turn the compost pile. This helps to increase the air circulation, allowing again for the organisms to continue their work.

The 3 bin system makes it really handy when it comes to turning a compost pile. You can start out with the newly composted material and put it in the 2nd bin to break down even further, and then when that’s finished, put it into the 3rd bin to be the useable product.

Fall is a good time to build a compost pile, because you have lots of leaves and lots of yard waste coming from the garden. However, a good rule of thumb is, every time you have the debris, that’s the time to build a compost pile!



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