Creating a compost heap is essential to the health and quality of a garden. So if you’re thinking of growing a garden in the spring, the time to start is NOW! Luckily for you, it’s a relatively easy process. We’ll help you out! Here’s how to go about it…

forbidden-155564_640First let’s list some don’t-s when it comes to compost.

  1. Don’t compost animal waste or meat- they attract vermin.
  2. Don’t compost greasy foods or plastics as they just won’t break down – they do eventually, but not in our life time which means they will still be in the “heap” come Spring!
  3. And don’t add diseased plant material as some plant diseases can survive to compost pile, and… well, you don’t want that in the Spring either.

Now, get some tools…

You’ll need :

  1. A compost bin (LARGE plastic tub or other suitable gardening-690940_640container or make your own bin).
  2. Gardening tools like gloves, shovel, fork (pitch fork) and rake.
  3. Most importantly, you now need to have stuff to compost like fallen leaves, grass clippings, un-eaten veggies, etc.

Now let’s build that compost heap!

1. Prepare your compost bin.

It must be able to drain out the bottom. So if your container doesn’t already have holes in the bottom, you can easily add some with a drill or similar tool.

2. Make a bottom layer.

Using some twigs, leaves or straw make a layer that covers the bottom of the container. About 4″ to 6″ should do it.

3. Fill the bin!green-waste-513609_640

Add nitrogen compounds like greens i.e. coffee grounds, grass clippings, weeds, raw vegetable peelings, manure { bovine or equine….cow or horse}. You can also add some brown stuff like card board box, cereal box, saw dust, old leaves, etc.

4. Let it “Stew”

I like to help this out by putting in a little “kick stark” bacteria to help catalyze. You can find this in a lawn and garden store. Shred / cut up this as you put your material in to aid in decomposition. Water the heap liberally as you fill up your bin.

5. Check your progress.

After 3 to 4 days, if it feels warm, it is beginning to compost. Check again in a week and if it feels cool then turn it over with your “fork”.  Do this by moving contents from bottom to top with your shovel or fork. This aids in decomposition which ads oxygen. If it looks dry, add some water to keep it moist. Continue this for several weeks, about 6 to 8 weeks.

6. Voila… Compost magic!

Check the bottom of your compost bin for the magical mix ready for your garden.  If it has a dark brown color and smells like earth / soil, then “bingo”-  it is ready!

**Here is a little tip, I’ll sprinkle a little fertilizer in to help the bacteria “eat” as they need the nitrogen to break down the carbon (think woody stuff).

Happy growing! 🙂