COMPOST BASICS

Adding compost to your garden beds or pots is one of the best things to enrich and keep the structure of your garden soil healthy and free of disease.

Plastic bin - easy to move, takes up small space, available in most hardware stores.

Making compost is becoming more important as we are more aware that the need to reduce our garbage is a necessity for keeping our environment and planet healthy.

Making it is an easy effective way to reduce our garbage and transforms our kitchen and garden waste into a rich fertilizer for our vegetable garden.

It is a natural process where organisms and bacterial break down organic matter into a rich dark soil material. This can be added to your vegetable garden beds to enrich the soil fertility and help prevent soil erosion.

Another plastic bin - easy to turn, takes up small space, easy to move.
For a very small garden or patio.

Basics on how to make compost:

Bin or no Bin?

You can make a pile with or without a container. There are lots of different kinds of bins available. Check in your local phone book to find out what is available in your area.

I have always used a wooden structure. In our backyard my husband built a 3 compartment unit, with removable front and lid. At my commercial organic garden I use pallets. They are a good size, easy to move around and free at the local building supply store.

3 bin made with cedar wood

Making the pile:

I find it is best and overall most efficient to accumulate your waste and build the pile all at once, however it can be done over time, it will just take longer for the matter to breakdown.

If you are making it over time remember that each time you put in kitchen scraps or other green matter , and equal amount of brown material should also be used.  Cover the wet kitchen stuff with straw as on example.

A pile will usually take 3-6 months to be ready, longer if it not managed well.

Best time to make your pile:

The best time to make a pile is in the spring or fall. Heat or cold can slow down the decomposition process.  For best results, the minimum size of your pile should be 3 feet by 3 feet.

Use a variety of material with different textures. A pile of one item grass cutting for example will take a long time to decompose.

Keep your pile covered. The sun will dry out your pile; the rain can make it too wet.

Tips for managing the pile:

  1. Increase the airflow in the pile by turning it.
  2. Never let your pile dry out. Make sure the pile is watered regularly, but not too wet. Take a handful from the middle of your pile, it should be crumbling not form into a ball.

It is  ready to use when a dark rich colour, smells good and crumbles in your hands.

Now here are the steps to making compost .

More questions? Are you having problems with your existing compost. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

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