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Expert tips for making your own compost

Find out how to provide your garden with nutrient-rich soil for free with advice from (Add Company Name) landscaping experts.

Want to reduce waste, save money and ensure your soil is healthy and nutrient-rich? The best way is to try making your own compost. We spoke to garden and landscape design experts about everything you need to know about installing and maintaining an outdoor compost area.

 
What type of compost bin should I use?
 
There are many things to consider when choosing a compost bin. Different types of compost bins perform a variety of effective tasks, but the key elements required are air, moisture and heat generated during decomposition.

There are so many options: plastic, wood, tumblers, hot compost bins. It really depends on how much waste you want to compost, how much work you want to do and how long you are willing to wait. For example, a hot compost bin keeps the temperature in the compost pile higher, speeding up the process. This means you can get usable compost quickly. Using a tumbler compost bin makes composting easier.
 

Size. Experts recommends considering the height of your bin and whether you can easily lift a shovel to turn the compost. When it comes to lids, this is also an important consideration. This is because it has to be big enough to fit a shovel if you don’t want to turn it by hand.

If you have the space, expert recommends a larger compost bin. Because it can be frustrating when your compost bin fills up before you can produce anything. Expert recommends a three-tier compost bin. This is because you can fill one container and rotate the other container.

Ingredient. Materials are also a key factor in selection, according to experts. Dark plastic
containers absorb heat and accelerate the decomposition process. It’s also compact, making it ideal for small gardens. The barrels can be larger, and the larger the pile of material, the higher the temperature, which accelerates decomposition.

How should I prepare my compost bin?

Expert says you should place your compost bin straight on the ground and add brown wood waste to the bottom to help with drainage. You can add shredded paper, grass clippings, leaves, anything that worms can get into the compost. If your compost bin doesn’t already have a lid, you can use old carpet, plastic or wood sheets – anything that will completely cover the compost pile and help retain heat.

Expert says that placing weed-killing film on top or allowing rain to enter the compost helps microorganisms break it down.

Expert recommends starting to add these as soon as you have them all ready. Try alternating between soft and wooden materials. Adding nitrogen-rich materials, such as manure, will help start the composting process.

Choose your trash can. Compost bins come in many shapes and sizes. You can purchase them at most garden stores, nurseries, and municipal waste disposal sites.

 
What should I add to my compost bin?
 
To get good compost, you have to mix hard and soft ingredients. You want your compost bin to cater to the tastes of as many microorganisms and bugs as possible. Too much of one thing can cause problems and slow or stop the process.
 
Green material (nitrogen rich). Experts recommend adding vegetable waste and garden waste,such as lawn mowing and pruning. It is best to mix grass clippings with other materials to avoid compacted layers that are difficult to break down evenly. We often add layers of cardboard to improve ventilation.
Soft green waste should take up half of your compost bin.

Organic matter (carbon rich). The rest can be woody material such as plant scraps or wood chips, but avoid putting in very large branches because they will take a long time to rot.

Sticks are always a problem because they take much longer to decompose than other organic materials. If you have space, it is better to make a firewood pile using tree trunks. This will attract beneficial insects to your garden and provide a home for many creatures that need a place to hibernate.

What can I do to help with this process?

Aerate your compost pile. It is important to aerate the compost pile to provide oxygen to the organisms that break down the waste. The best way is to turn or dig the compost often. Ideally, at least once a month. Although it is a difficult task, it is important to allow air to pass throughout the pile.

If it’s too physically challenging, poking holes with a broom handle can help. Placing rough materials, such as straws, to create air pockets throughout the pile can also be helpful. They also need moisture, so you have to water them in dry weather.

There is many compost ‘accelerants’ on the market, but ultimately these are a mix of chemicals, including ammonia. The cheapest source of ammonia is urine. It actually accelerates decomposition.

How long will it take until I have usable compost?

It will take about a year for an open bin to turn waste into compost. More technical hot compost bins allow you to process compost much more quickly.

This period is also affected by what you add to your compost bin. A lot of wood can take about three years to decompose properly. For soft plant material it may take less than a year. When it crumbles and looks like dirt, it’s ready.

Expert has both systems in his garden and says, With the traditional system, you don’t leave the compost out for a year. I use this compost to mulch my flower beds in early spring. Using a hot bin, compost can be completed in 6 to 8 weeks. I mainly use it when planting in pots.

Can I use semi-prepared compost?

Expert says, you can do it, but I don’t recommend it. As far as I know, the decomposition process requires carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). When you add unfinished compost to the soil, there is a period where the unfinished compost absorbs C and N from the soil and decomposes on its own. Once decomposed, they add nutrients back to the soil. This means that over a period of time, levels of C and N decrease, leaving less available to plants.

How can I avoid pests like rats?

Expert recommends avoiding cooked waste, which rats especially enjoy. To deter rats, use vegetable waste and other green materials.

Rats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, so if your compost bin is well balanced and odor- free, rats will be less of a problem. Thin layers of grass clippings and shredded paper will help maintain a healthy compost pile.

Mixing the compost well reduces the smell of food waste, which can attract pests. Also, make sure the pile is moist to prevent animals from finding good dry places to shelter.

Can I add compostable bags?

I used to put them in, but they never completely disintegrated. After a year I still have the bags and they look terrible when I cover the flower beds. You can put the bags in your caddy for easy cleanup, but reuse them as much as possible and don’t put them in the compost.

 

 

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