Making your own garden compost is much easier than you think. With a simple compost heap, you can recycle most of the organic household and garden waste while enriching your soil at the same time.
Choose an area in your yard that is well-drained and close to the garden so you can easily transfer the composted soil once it’s ready.
2. Choosing a style
Composting bins are more suitable for smaller gardens whereas a simple pit can be all that’s required if you live on a large property. Composting piles can be made directly on the ground with some wood as a frame simple. Determine what the best style is for your yard and how much green waste you produce.
3. Making compost
Gather all the organic materials you can find in your garden such as grass clippings, leaves and weeds and add them to your pit or bin. Include any organic food scraps from the kitchen that will break down as well. Don’t go overboard on onion skins as worms don’t like them and weeds that spread by runners such as oxalis or couch grass. If you want to kick-start the composting process, add a few shovels of soil rich in decomposing organisms.
4. Maintaining the compost
This is the most important part of the process and will determine the quality of your compost. Keep monitoring moisture levels and air intake as these factors are both vital for effective decomposing. If the compost becomes saturated it can emit bad smell. If this happens, punch holes in the side of the pile for aeration.
As fungi and bacteria grow and eat the waste, the compost will fluctuate in heat. Once the pile becomes uncomfortable to touch then it’s time to turn it with a pitch fork and shovel. NB: turning your pile every second day should produce compost in less than one month. If you turn it every other week expect to wait between one to three months until it’s ready.
6. Compost soil
Finished compost won’t produce any heat, smells sweet and will be cool and crumbly to touch. Once you’ve reached this point it’s time to start putting it to good use in the garden while you start on your next pile!