Feed Your Compost! - Tips for Starting & Maintaining A Compost Pile
How to Maintain a Compost Heap
Compost is a nutrient-rich mixture of organic matter used by gardeners and farmers to help grow strong, healthy plants and flowers. In addition to providing nutrients that help improve depleted soil at no additional cost, compost piles also have the added benefit of recycling many common lawn and household waste products that would otherwise end up in landfills. Although the initial decomposition time can be lengthy, once a compost pile is active, keeping it going is easy. This article explains how to maintain a compost heap.
Arrange the compost to make an indentation in the top of the pile to hold water.Sprinkle water into the hole with a garden hose when the pile appears dry. It is important to keep the compost pile moist, but not wet because the beneficial organisms that cause the compost to decompose properly cannot survive in a soggy environment.
Turn the compost regularly to ensure proper air circulation which speeds the decomposition process by encouraging beneficial bacteria and fungi growth.More frequent turning will help if you need to speed up the process or if your compost pile has a strong odor.
Shred or otherwise cut materials into small pieces before placing them on the compost heap whenever possible.Smaller pieces will decompose more quickly.
Learn which items can be composted.The more items you are able to add to your compost pile, the more compost you will be able to generate. Commonly available items that can be composted include many kitchen wastes, lawn clippings used in thin layers, mulched leaves, disease- and pest-free plants as long as they are not weeds, and shredded paper.
Add straw, pine needles, grass clippings, or plant cuttings if you notice an unpleasant odor.Aerate the pile well.
Add dry chopped or mulched leaves or shredded paper to soak up the excess water if the compost pile is soggy.Aerate the pile well.
Keep a container with a lid and handle under the sink or in the refrigerator.Chop or cut large chunks of kitchen waste before adding them to the container. When the container is full, empty it into the compost pile. If you don't generate large amounts of kitchen waste regularly, purchase biodegradable compost pail liners that can be tossed in the compost bin as well to make keeping the container clean much easier.
Cover any exposed pieces of produce with 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of grass clippings to discourage flying insects.
QuestionCan I put meat in a compost pile?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can put anything that decomposes.Thanks!
- Compost activators can be added to your compost pile to help speed up the decomposition process. In addition to store-bought activator products, grass clippings, young weeds, and chicken manure that is well-rotted will work.
- When finished, compost should be dark and crumbly and should smell earthy, not rotten or moldy.
- Compost should be used as a soil additive. It will not replace soil entirely.
- If the compost pile is damp and only the center of the pile is warm, the pile is probably too small. Add more compost material.
- Store dry leaves in sacks or leaf bags next to the compost pile. As you add kitchen scraps and other green materials, toss a layer of dry leaves on top to help balance the green materials. Be sure to turn the compost pile whenever adding new material.
- Do not add pet manure to any compost that will be used on produce that will be eaten.
- Do not add meat, bones, or fish to your compost pile.
- Weeds and diseased plants should not be composted because they can be spread to other planting areas when the compost is added to the soil.
- If you have more leaves that your compost bin can handle, start a separate compost pile for the leaves. The pile should be at least 4 feet (1.2 m) (1.2 m) wide and 3 feet (0.91 m) (.9 m) high with a layer of dirt between each foot (.3 m) of leaves. The pile should remain moist throughout.
Video: Maintaining a Compost - with Costa Georgiadis
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