diy Compost: Getting Your Hands Dirty

Gardening and compost go hand in hand. The question is do you buy compost or diy compost? I prefer the latter, especially because you can get started for FREE. Yes, I said FREE! Ain’t nothing better than FREE and the end result is worth it’s weight in gold.

If you’re a gardener then you won’t mind getting your hands dirty. In this line of work, you need to handle plants, soil, rocks, fertilizer, soil conditioners, etc. and there will be times when a pair of gardening gloves are not available. At times using gloves can cumbersome and prevent you handling some delicate stuff. In this case, you have to get down on your knees and get your hands dirty. And nothing is dirtier than making compost.

Composting is the process were biodegradable materials, usually manure and household wastes, are turned into soil-like output by combining them with a little air, water and nitrogen. Is that too technical for you? Well compost is a dark, crumbly, soil-like substance which functions as soil conditioner, mulch, and fertilizers. It feeds your garden soil the microorganisms that most plants need to grow healthy and strong.

When making your own compost pile, it would be ideal to find a place near your garden and yet it has enough concealment to not affect the overall look of your garden. Does that make sense? Just like one of the famous movies say “hiding in plain sight”. If such is the case, a cleverly painted compost bin would help make the area neater. A corral or a fenced area would do fine.

After setting up your composting area, you start composting by arranging a 3:1 ratio of brown and green organic materials. Green ingredients contain lots of nitrogen while the brown elements contain lots of carbon. Together, they form the basic foundations of a compost file. The green organic components of gardening include grass clippings while the brown components are the dry leaves and other wood products.

If you’re worried about the possible bad smell that would come out of your compost pile, then don’t. When the ratio of greens and browns are correct, you don’t have to worry about any bad smell from your compost pile. Compost should have this earthy smell and not smelling like rotting food. If you smell the later then it could be something that was added to the pile or the ratio of the green and brown components are not correct.

One way to make certain that your compost pile has just the right combination of green and brown components, is to get a pile of green material and put it in your compost bin. Follow it up with two piles of brown materials. Keep this going until you have a nice pile of leaves and grass that measures about three feet. At this height, you probably have a base measuring about 3 feet. Having a compost pile of this size helps the greens and browns easily and quickly break down.

If you want, you could add in a bucket of already finished compost to the newly formed pile. This will jump start the process and begin the microbial activities in your compost pile.

Make sure that you add enough moisture to the pile as well. Keeping the compost pile damp will accelerate the breakdown of the organic materials. Add water to the pile and scoop up a handful. It should be damp, somewhat like a sponge. See, I told you your hands will have to get dirty.

You should turn over your compost pile at least once a week to keep it loose. This allows air into the pile and aids the process of decomposition. After a few months, you should have good quality compost. The original materials you used should no longer be recognizable.

As you can see, diy compost is quite easy and requires a minimal amount of your time. You set up the pile and let Mother Nature do the work and the end result is a pile of gold, well not really, but to a gardener diy compost is as good as gold.