October 20, 2008
A home compost pile is an inexpensive source of great organic matter.
Compost is an excellent, nutrient-rich, soil conditioner which is produced when organic matter (such as leaves, grass clippings, and other garden waste) is broken down by fungi, bacteria, worms, and other small organisms in the soil.
October is a great time to think about creating a compost pile. Now that fall is in the air, the autumn leaves will begin to fall and with garden clean-up close at hand, there is plenty of readily available composting material!The following are a few tricks to keep in mind when you create your pile.
- Locate your bin in a level, well-drained area with good sunlight & air circulation
- Your compost bin(s) should be at least 3'x3'x3' to ensure proper heat build-up
- Try to keep the proper ratio of carbon-rich ingredients (browns) and nitrogen-rich ingredients (greens), generally 25-30 parts brown to 1 part green.
- "Browns" are dry ingredients and include dry leaves (shredded leaves are best), straw, sawdust or wood chips, shredded newspaper, and the dried trimmings from your garden in spring.
- "Greens" are usually fresh and moist and include green grass clippings, weeds from the garden, vegetative kitchen scraps, and manure.
- Keep your pile moist but not wet. If it becomes too wet it will begin to stink!
- Turn and mix your pile with a pitchfork every 3-4 weeks to increase aeration and ensure that the whole pile begins to decompose. This process is made easier if you turn your compost into a series of 2 or 3 adjacent bins.
- Using shredded material and turning your pile more often will produce finished compost much sooner - perhaps in 1-2 months rather than 4-5 months.