Creating a compost pile in your backyard is not only a good hobby, but also a good practice to save money in the long run. Whether you are gardening for fun or you grow all of your own food, composting should be part of your gardening and lawn care routine.
By using your own compost pile, you can be resourceful and save money on topsoil and fertilizer that you would usually have to buy from a gardening store. The mixture of recycled food, vegetables, and yard scraps is full of nutrients to help your plants grow. As spring time starts to roll around, starting your very own compost pile will be easier than you think!
Below are some tips about how to start your own compost pile:
Look around your yard – Your lawn or garden may be filled with compostable materials you didn’t even know were there! There could be a pile of leaves waiting to be raked, or your grass could use a good cutting. Find things around your yard that could be used as the first layer.
Don’t throw things out – Next, you should begin by looking in your home. Did you know that up to 40%, on average, of garbage thrown out is actually compostable? By filtering out what can be used for compost piles from the actual garbage will be a great start.
Things to look for include vegetable waste, fruit rinds, newspaper, pet hair, vegetable skin, apple cores, and coffee grounds. Make sure you avoid adding meat or bones to the compost pile because they decompose differently and can attract animals.
Begin the pile – Place your pile in the corner of your garden, preferably slightly elevated so if it rains, the nutrients will carry over into your garden. A low-cost way to contain your compost pile is to use chicken wire. If you live in the city, you can grab a large garbage can with a lid and poke holes in it to allow air flow. Make sure you put it in a spot where the bin can get indirect sunlight to heat up.
Constructing the pile:
- The first layers: begin by adding a layer of dead leaves and shredded newspaper. On top of that, add some food waste and maybe grass clippings, along with a few handfuls of gardening soil. By doing this, you will introduce nutrients and bacteria to kick start the compost process.
- Alternate: Keep alternating the same layers until you have created a three-foot pile. Make sure you get the right ratio of brown materials to green materials.
- Waiting: It is going to take about a month to a month and a half to have a good compost pile. The key is to make sure that it stays damp, not wet, and that it stays warm. Once a week, you should gently turn the materials in the pile with a pitchfork or gardening fork.
Soon enough, you will be able to harvest the good compost from the bottom of the pile. You should add this compost to your garden every few months to make sure your plants are growing at the optimal rate. As you get to be a more experienced composter, you will be able to add or change your compost ingredients in order to find the perfect solution for your garden!
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Housing Buzz team!