Let's learn how to make a compost pile out of all that old vegetable and garden plant material that inevitably collects over time in your garden? There really is no secret recipe and the - how to make a compost pile - question is quite easily answered.
A compost heap should be a necessary feature in any average garden. It's a means of collecting together the waste material gathered during regular gardening. When composted it supplies the garden's soil with essential organic matter.
With a little pre-planning and some work, the end product will be an amazing material that has undergone a miraculous transformation and is ready to offer up its life promoting properties to your vegetable plants, leaving them healthy and stuffed with flavour, minerals and nutrients.
There are a number of ways in which compost heaps can be made and as many theories exist as to the way in which they should be handled.
Two important points which are necessary for successful composting are:
The organic material produced fulfils several vital functions:
Give some thought on how to make a compost heap by giving consideration to its siting, particularly if your garden is small. You may not have much choice but try not to locate it under trees or deep shade, keep it as close to your vegetable patch as possible
One of the easiest ways of making compost is to purchase bins or containers which have been specially constructed for this purpose. More on these later.
Well rotted, composted vegetable waste can be used as a mulch at the base of vegetables and between their rows, smothering small weeds and preventing the surface soil from drying out. Or it can be dug into your beds to improve the soil's structure and to make the necessary nutrients available to your growing vegetables.
How to make a compost successfully depends on the transformation of waste vegetable material through the action of bacteria and fungi. These bacteria and fungi get a lot of help from worms and insects too.
Where tougher items are to be broken down (brussels sprout stems), bruise or chop the stems to aid rotting. Using a shredder for this is priceless, increases the surface area of the material and allows the micro organisms and worms to break it down faster.
This older, tougher material gives body to the pile and will make up the bulk of your finished material.
If you don't have a shredder then chop up with a spade or lawn mower - if the material is not too big or hard.
Cover the top of the compost heap with an old carpet, blanket or polystyrene sheets - anything to keep it from becoming too drenched and to give some insulation, this is how to make a compost pile work harder for better results.
|Balancing Act||Rough Stuff||Slow Rotters||Activators|
Vegetable plant remains
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Young hedge clippings
Bedding plant remains
Old straw and hay
Gerbil, hamster and rabbit bedding
Cardboard tubes from toilet rolls etc
Tough hedge clippings
How to make a compost fit for garden use is to ensure you don't add materials that will contaminate the pile - see list below...
Coal and coke ash
Diseased plant material
A common way of how to make a compost heap is in two wooden bays built side by side with open fronts which allow for wooden boards to be slotted in. As the heap builds, boards can be added to keep the contents contained.
While one is full of maturing compost the other is being filled with fresh vegetable waste.
I prefer a three bay garden compost heap. Whilst one is maturing, I can turn the fresh scraps in the bay being filled on a regular basis by rotating between the two remaining bays - this increases the breakdown by the micro organisms. The result is 'black gold' available to my raised beds much more quickly.
How to make a compost heap break down more effectively is to make sure gaps are left in the frame work, or holes are made if you are using wood. This ensures that the micro organisms get the air they need which is essential to composting activity.
How to make a compost quicker and more nutrient packed...
In summer you could have compost ready in two or three months or even less. In winter it would take a little longer.
Whether you are making a 'cold' or 'hot' pile cover the top with an old blanket, carpet etc. to keep it insulated and stop excessive rain.
Once you have experienced this process and seen the end results you will be hooked and on your way to becoming a composting nerd.