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Making Compost….Getting Your Hands Dirty

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by Gail Browser
(Detroit, USA)

If you’re a gardener then you are used to getting your hands dirty. In this line of work, you need to handle plants, soil, rocks, fertilizer, soil conditioners, etc. and not all times a pair of gardening gloves are handy.

At times using gloves can prevent you handling some delicate stuff. In this case, you have to get down on your knees and get your hands dirty. And nothing is dirtier that making compost!.

Composting is a the process were biodegradable materials, usually manure and household wastes, are turned into soil-like output by combining them with a little air, water and nitrogen. Is that too technical for you?

Well compost is a dark, crumbly, soil-like substance which functions as soil conditioner, mulch, and fertilizers. It feeds your garden soil the micro-organisms that most plants need to grow big, healthy and strong.

When making your own compost pile, it would be ideal to find a place near your garden and yet it has enough concealment to not affect the overall look of your garden. Does that make sense?

Just like one of the famous movies say “hiding in plain sight”. If such is the case, a cleverly painted compost bin would help make the area neater. A corral or a fenced area would do also be fine.

After setting up your composting area, you start composting by arranging a 3:1 ratio of brown and green organic materials. Green ingredients contain lots of nitrogen while the brown elements contain lots of carbon.

Together, they form the basic foundations of a compost file. The green organic components of gardening include grass clipping while the brown components are the dry leaves and other wood products.

If you’re worried about the possible bad smell that would come out of your compost pile, then don’t. When the ratio of greens and browns is correct, you don’t have to worry of any bad smell from yourcompost pile.

Compost should have this earthy smell and not smelling like rotting vegetation. If you smell the latter then there could have been some things that might have been included in the pile or the balance of the greens and browns components is not correct.

One way to make certain that your compost pile has just the right combination of greens and browns components, is to get a pile of green material and put it in you compost bin. Follow it up with two piles of brown materials. Keep this going until you have a nice pile of leaves and grass that measures about three feet high.

At this height, you probably have a base measuring 3 feet across as well. One good thing of having this large compost pile is that the greens and browns can easily and quickly break down.

If you want, you could add in a bucket of already finished compost to the newly formed pile. This will help start the process and begin the microbiological activities in your compost pile.

Make sure that you add enough moisture to the pile as well. Keeping the compost pile damp will help quicken the breakdown of the organic materials. Add water to the pile and feel a sample. It should be damp, somewhat like a sponge. See, I told you your hands will have to get dirty.

There is a need to turn over your compost pile at least once a week to keep it loose allowing air into the pile and quickens the process of decomposition. After two months, you should have decent qualitycompost by now. The original materials you used should no longer be recognizable.

As you can see, making compost is quite easy and requires not too much of your time!.

Click here to read more DIY Home gardening tips

Updated: November 20, 2013 — 1:31 am

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