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Composting For Beginners

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If you have a couple of growing seasons under your belt, you probably know about the benefits of starting your own compost pile and how it can work wonders for your plants. But if you’re a greenhorn, creating a compost pile is not really on the top of your list. It may not even be on your radar. This quick guide on composting for beginners will help answer the question of how to start a compost pile. If you’re just getting started, you may have allot of questions about where to begin, so we’ll start with the basics.

Composting for Beginners 101

The first thing to know about composting is to understand that the goal is to create mineral rich soil that will benefit your garden.

At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter and waiting for the materials to break down after a period of weeks or months. — Wikipedia

So now that we know the goal, we can start to think about making compost. Thankfully, that is also a simple process as long as you remember that what goes into your compost pile will determine the quality of the finished product. So if the goal is to create mineral rich compost, that means we must use mineral rich waste in our compost pile. Some good examples of this would be to use organic kitchen waste, old plant triming, egg shells, or any other “clean” organic matter you can think of. This will ensure that you get a good, rich and diverse mineral profile in your compost.

The benefits of creating your own compost

When you create your own compost, you know exactly what is going into the mix and you can fine tune the mixture to provide the nutrients your garden might need. When you add this new soil to your garden, your plants will thrive.

Many times, store bought compost will not provide all the specific minerals your plants might need since they have to cater to a larger demographic. For a small garden, store bought compost is fine, but if you need specific mineral composition, or if you just want to save money by doing it yourself, it’s probably be best to make your own compost.

Most often, gardeners use compost to enrich their garden soil. When compost is added to the soil, the overall structure of the soil is improved allowing it to hold more water and letting air circulate within the soil. Contrary to some perceptions, compost is quite easy to make and is especially easy to use. There are several methods that could be used when creating compost. This Composting for Beginners guide shows how easy it is to create it on your own backyard.

I would suggest making your own compost bin to make everything confined to one place. You will avoid making a mess in your backyard if you do so. Plus, temperature and moisture can also be regulated if you construct a compost bin. You need to allow your earthworm buddies and other organic microbes help out in the decomposing process.

Remember your “Browns” and “Greens”

Although, almost all organic materials could go into your compost pile, a good combination of “greens” and “browns” would be better. The “greens” refer to nitrogen-rich organic matter like fresh grass, leaves, and your scraps in your kitchen. The “browns”, on the other hand refer to organic matter tat contains a lot of carbon such as those dried leaves on your backyard, straw and, of course, wood chips or shavings.

This will yield a rich dark and earthy soil that should crumble easily when you hold it in your hand.


A Woman In A Rooftop Garden Is Making Compost

A good combination of “greens” and “browns” can dictate how fast you will have a finished compost. Admittedly, you will have an edge in this area if you have piled up your experience in compost making. Why? Well, for starters you would probably have timed how fast the final compost is created from the different proportions of “greens” and “browns”.

Some, however, would suggest that the best proportion would be 25 percent of your compost pile is made of “browns” and 1 percent is made of “greens.” Take note that if you have a large part made up of “browns” the compost pile will decompose rather slowly. On the other hand, having too much “greens” on the pile could cause some serious smell.

Air and Water are Other Key Ingredients

Other elements that you should always consider when making compost are the air and the amount of water your pile will need. It is best to keep your compost pile damp. This will help in the decomposing process. Air is also needed so make sure your pile is properly aerated. If you do observe that no air is coming in, just turn over your pile. Observe and continuously aerate your pile every until you can already “harvest” the fruits of your labor.

It takes some effort in creating compost, that part I have to agree. But the results of composting are really worthwhile. This composting for beginners guide gave you the basics, now jump right in and start your own compost pile!

See this quick video by Discovery News about the basics of composting.

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