How To Make and Use Your Own Compost Heap
Compost can be used for several different purposes. You can spread it in your garden beds and under your shrubs as fertilizer, or you can use it as potting soil for plants that you plan on keeping outside. Compost has three categories of ingredients. We’ll break down which ingredients belong in which categories in greater detail in a moment. For now, suffice it to say that the three categories are browns, greens, and water. The browns provide carbon, and the greens provide nitrogen. The water provides moisture which facilitates the breakdown of organic matter. Ideally, your compost should consist of an equal amount of browns and greens.
Back Yard Composting
If you’re going to be creating a compost heap in your back yard, then the first step you should take is to select an ideal spot. An ideal spot should be dry and shady, but near a source of water. The next step is to start adding those browns and greens, making sure that larger pieces are either shredded or chopped before they’re thrown onto the pile. If you’re adding any dry materials, you should moisten them as you do so. Every now and then, you should mix some grass clippings into the pile. You’ll know your compost is ready to use when the material at the bottom has a dark, rich color.
If you want to do your composting indoors, you can. You’re just going to need some type of bin. You can either buy one or make it yourself. If you want to make your own, you can start by drilling half inch holes into the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can. Next, put a brick in the bottom of a larger can. Put some wood chips or soil around that brick, and then put the smaller can on top of it. Finally, wrap some insulation around the outer can, and then cover both of them with a lid. Indoor composting can be a terrific alternative, especially for people who live in apartment buildings.
Remember, whether it’s inside or outside, your compost pile will need some brown ingredients and some green ingredients. Just because something is brown or green, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s automatically going to make a good compost ingredient. Furthermore, there are some ingredients which don’t look brown or green that, nonetheless, are excellent. “Brown” ingredients which are good, but that you might not otherwise think about, include things like cardboard rolls, clean paper, cotton rags, and dryer lint. Conversely, tea bags and nut shells are good “green” ingredients, even though they may look brown in color to you.
Just as there are some good ingredients that you might overlook, there are some ingredients which you might consider using that would actually not work very well at all. Bones are one example of this. While they are made of organic material, they will create odor and attract pests as they decompose. Also avoid yard trimmings if they’re chemically treated.