Making Compost: Getting Your Hands Dirty

If you’re a gardener then you should not mind getting y our hands dirty. In this line of work, you need to handle plants, soil, rocks, fertilizer, soil conditioners, etc. and not all times a pair of gardening gloves is handy. At times using glove can 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 that making compost.

Composting is a 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 feed your garden soil the microorganism 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 clipping 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 is correct, you don’t have to worry of any bad smell from your compost pile. Compost should have this earthy smell and not smelling like rot. If you smell the later then there could have been some things that might have been included in the pile or the ratio of the greens and browns components is not correct.

One way to make certain that your compost pile has jus the right combination of greens and browns components, is to get a pile of green material and put it in you compost bin. Follow it up with two piles of brown materials. Keep this gong until you have a nice pile of leaves and grass that measures about three feet. At this high, you probably have a base measuring 3 feet also. One good thing of having this large a compost pile is that the greens and browns can 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 help 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 help quicken the breakdown of the organic materials. Add water to the pile and feel a sample. It should be damp, somewhat like a sponge. See, I told you your hands will have to get dirty.

There is a need to turn over your compost pile at least once a week to keep it loose allowing air into the pile and quickens the process of decomposition. After two months, you should have decent quality compost by now. The original materials you used should no longer be recognizable.

As you can see, making compost is quite easy and requires not too much of your time.


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Making Compost: Getting Your Hands Dirty
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The city of Iowa City is reminding residents that they can compost pumpkins instead of throwing them away. Pumpkins must be placed in a city of Iowa City Yard Waste bag or a container with a current yard waste sticker. There is a 50-pound weight limit ...