Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Compost Happens

Composting Made Easy

     Many folks may not even think about composting because they just don’t know how. Well here is a great way to get started. Compost is a great way to amend your soil if your garden or flower bed is just not producing like you would think it should and it is free and organic. And if you are like use we love organic because it is safer and no chemicals to worry about. There is nothing better to rebuild your soil and fertilize at the same time. So if you worry about what is going into your food starting a compost is a great way to get started. You can get started now and it may be ready for you in the spring when the garden is ready to be planted.

What is needed to build a great compost?

Well, some folks choose to pile their yard debris in a corner of the back yard which is a great spot to get started. Now if you are looking for something a bit neater you can buy one at your local garden center or you can build one or recycle something you already had. Some things you can use that you might have right there at your house: if you have a large plastic bin, if you are like me I keep them handy for feed bins and other things. You might have a few old pallets around to build a small area.* You might have an old IBS container that you can use. Just do not make it more than three feet high. I prefer to recycle myself. It saves on money out of pocket and we all need that right.
Once you have decided on a bin or spot you are going to compost there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure you that your domestic and wild life will not be rummaging through it. Just remember this is going to be a place of rotting things and will have an odor to start with. Make sure there is enough room for air to circulate and cool the pile. You will also want to have a way to water your compost to aid in the process.

What are things you can compost?

     Grass clipping, small tree branches and twigs, leaves, food scraps (excluding bones and meat) peels, eggshells coffee grounds tea bags (if they have organic compostable bags, if not tear the bags off first) manure of chickens, rabbits, goats or sheep and wood ash. For bigger animals you may want to start a separate pile to make sure bad organisms have enough heat to be destroyed (more of that later.)Things you should never put into your compost: used cat litter, chemicals, or charcoal from grills.  

     Once you have your bin set up and ready to go make sure you alternate green with browns to help compost at a good rate. You will have to turn your pile periodically to keep the heat of the pile promoting decay. Using a pitch fork you can turn it easily. Add water to the mix but do not soak it. You can test the heat by placing your hand on top of the pile or use a thermometer, the temperature should stay at least 60 degrees or higher to efficiently compost if your pile has cooled lower than that continue to turn it to create more aeration. Remember alternate the greens with the browns and you can add soil to the mix also.

       Your compost may take a long time to mature depending on what you have put into it or it can less than that. To know if your compost is ready it will have a dark rich color to it and be more like soil itself. It won’t hurt for it to continue to start in the bin for storage purposes that is why it is good to have another pile to start next to it. Once it is to this stage you can add it to your garden and flower beds. Just mix it in and grow! Your garden will love it and your produce will grow so much better.

      If you are wanting to use larger animal manure for your compost you can add wood chips to the pile you have cleaned up the area. The ratio is 1 to 1 or 1 to 2. Start an initial pile and let it set for a week, make sure you water it and tarp it from the start. After one week, start a second pile which becomes the one week pile. After another week goes by you can add the one week pile to the two week pile. This is stirred in good and watered and tarped. Now make another pile to start a one week pile again. You  will have three piles now. In the third week the compost the second week pile can be added and start a new pile for first and second piles again. After the third week it should be close to maturing. Keep adding to piles and rotating each week. Your first pile should be newly started and it will smell like poo.  The second pile will have a slight odor to it. By the time a month goes by the third pile should be a rich dark color and ready to use. It will not have a smell. This will be great to fertilize the fruit trees and bushes in your yard and it can be done a few times a year to improve the soil and  be used for mulch around the bottoms of the plants. We have enough pig poo to get ours started and it will made a great plus for our blueberries.

     In conclusion composting is an easy way to get rid of all those food scraps and grass clipping etc. Make the most of it! Your plants will love it!

     Quote of the day:

A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.

     Scripture of the day:

Is. 60:21 And all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever. They are the sprout that I planted, The work of my hands, for me to be beautified.

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