How To Start A Compost Pile For Beginners

 How To Start A Compost Pile For Beginners

It is a nice! You should start a compost pile since it will provide your garden loose, rich, well-draining soil. It is also good for the environment because the composted materials are reused for another purpose instead of being sent to landfills. Finally, it's good for you too, because building and turning a compost pile is great exercise.

Do I Need a Compost Bin to Start a Pile?

Nope. Although some type of container may be used to hold your contents, it is not necessary. All you need to create a compost pile are the materials you are going to compost, a way to deliver them to your compost pile, and a rake, shovel, garden fork, or whatever tool you use. Apply once every week or 2. Bus! Compost will do, whether it's in the trash or in a loose pile on the ground.

What Supplies Should I Employ to Construct My Compost Pile?

Everyone I know who composts has their own formula or recipe for making the perfect compost, but as a beginner, there are only three types of materials you need to focus on:

Carbon-Rich Materials (Browns)

Carbon-rich materials are materials that are mostly dry. Brown material, as many call it, is easy to recognize because it is material that has been dead for some time and may have begun to decompose on its own. Carbonation helps retain air in the compost and prevent it from becoming waterlogged and anaerobic. You'll know if you need to add more carbon to the pile because it will smell it. Some good sources of carbon-rich materials that you can compost are:

Wood chips
Toilet paper/paper towel tubes
Twigs and branches
Newspaper
Paper towels
Computer paper
Junk mail
Dry leaves
Sawdust

Nitrogen-Rich Materials (Greens)

Nitrogen-rich sources, or greens, tend to be wetter and have recently moved beyond browning. Vegetables feed the bacteria into a pile and cook them (literally). You can tell when your pile has too much nitrogen because it will quickly become anaerobic and start to smell. Here are some examples of nitrogen-rich additions to your pile:

Manure
Banana peels
Melon rinds
Coffee and tea grounds
Eggshells
Apple cores
Green leaves
Almost any fruit or vegetable waste

Materials That You Do Not Want to Compost

These materials will eventually become compost, but you may not want to throw them in a pile because they attract insects. Just trust me on this. Turning your pile over to reveal a rat's nest is not a good memory. Don't put them in your pile:

Milk or dairy
Meat
Bones
Prepared bread products
Fats and oils

How Should I Build My Compost Pile?

1-Choose Your Area: To build your own compost pile, you must first select an area where you can build a pile that is 3 feet long x 3 feet wide x 3 feet high. It would be great to have an area where you could build three stacks in exactly the same way, but let's focus on just one first.

2-Make the First Carbon Layer: Start with a 3×3 layer of thick carbon material such as sticks, twigs or shredded cardboard. Try to make this layer between 6 and 10 inches thick. This will provide enough airflow into the pile to allow aerobic bacteria to grow. They work much faster than anaerobic bacteria and produce much less odor.

3-Water the Layer: Water the pile after placing each layer from now on. You always want your compost pile to stay wet. The creatures that break your pile need water, and if they don't have water, they'll go somewhere else. It's a good idea to start attracting them now.

4-Alternate Between Nitrogen and Carbon Layers: The next layer of the pile will be nitrogen, then carbon, then nitrogen, then carbon in 2 to 4 inches, in even layers until the material is used up. I be covering the pile construction with a brown material such as sawdust, leaves, or paper to help absorb any odors that might surprise any creatures. Don't forget to water it too.

Turning and Maintaining Your Pile

A good compost pile comes as much from maintaining it well as from building it. Give your pile two weeks before turning it for the first time, and try turning it once every week or two after that.

When a 3-bin or 3-pile system is running, pile shifting is easy. To turn the pile using the three-pile system, simply fork, shovel, or push it into the next bin making sure the pile is completely turned upside down. A new pile can then be started in place of the working pile.

Converting a stack so you only have room for one person is not easy, but it is possible. Use whatever tool you want to use to move the group of parts to a different location. Then move the stack, starting with the first part you moved and ending with the last part, back to the same place. This will turn your deck upside down, which is exactly what you wanted it to do.

Be sure to cover the pile with a tarp if it's raining or snowing heavily, and water it if it looks completely dry.

How Long Will My Compost Take?

TThe best answer I can give to this question is “Your compost is not cooked until it looks like the soil in the picture above.”

I can't say for sure how long it will take to make your own compost because I don't know where you are. I have composted in central Pennsylvania and eastern North Carolina, and I have to say so here in North Carolina. In, compost forms much faster because the climate is warmer.

I also can't say for sure because I don't know how much material the pile started with. The entire composting process revolves around microbes and soil life breaking down the materials in your pile into the soil. The larger the material you start with, the longer it will take to compost.

What Should I Do After My Compost Is Complete?

Use your own compost to improve your native soil, make your own potting mix, then sift it to make your seed mix... and whatever you might use boxed soil for. And be sure to start another pile right away because once you see the results of fresh compost, you'll need more.

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