Building Organic Compost

Want a grow healthy, organic vegetables? Feed them with healthy, organic compost.

Organic compost is simply a collection of organic material that is collected in one place and kept wet and aerated until the material decomposes.  It is added to garden soil to give nutrients and texture to the soil.

Compost can be as simple as

(1) a pile in the corner of your backyard where you throw your kitchen and yard waste.

(2) Or you can go to the garden store and buy something expensive to hold your compost.

(3 )Or you can build your own container.

  •  An old garbage can will do, either plastic or metal. Punch holes in it to provide for air to get in and water to get out. 
  • A length of animal fencing such as chicken wire, roll it up so that is is about 12 to 24 inches in diameter, secure the ends with pieces of wire, and set it on end.
  • A secure bin if you need to protect your compost from racoons and other creatures.   
  • Add a cover to the compost if you have a lot of rain.

What Makes Good Organic Compost?

You need 5 things for the best compost:

  • carbon, 
  • nitrogen, 
  • air, 
  • water  
  • living organisms.

Carbon is derived for brown material: dried leaves, limbs and twigs from trees and shrubs, untreated wood scraps, old newspapers. These decompose faster if they are in small pieces. Tear, shred, or break as small as possible.

Nitrogen comes from green and colorful material: grass and weed clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen, coffee grounds (filters, too), tea (bags and all).

Watering every day or two helps with decomposition.

Turning the compost weekly will insure that there is plentiful air for the little creatures that are helping with the process: earthworms, bacteria, protozoa, fungi.

Can Just Anything Go Into The Compost Pile?

  • No. Do not put black walnut hulls in your compost. They contain a chemical, jugalone, which is toxic to some plants, especially tomatoes. (An aside, rubbing the hull on the skin will kill ringworm!) The leaves and twigs are low in this toxin, but I do not use them, just in case.
  • If you put animal products such as dairy, meat scraps, and bone in your compost, they may attract unwanted animals to your bin. That doesn't mean you can't use them. Just decide if that will be a problem for you.

Start building your backyard composting system today for wonderful organic vegetables tomorrow.

See keyhole gardens, raised bed garden

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