As any experienced gardener will tell you, supplying your plants with the nutrient-rich soil they need is the best way to make sure that they grow well. There are several ways to accomplish this. You can purchase expensive organic compost from your local nursery, taking a huge bite out of your gardening budget. You can use inexpensive chemical fertilizers, and risk over fertilizing and destroying your garden. Or, you can start your own compost bin and get the benefits of organic compost without the hefty price tag you see in your local garden. If this idea appeals to you, here are several tips on how to get your compost bin up and running.
Compost, while a great benefit to your soil, is very difficult to take on the nose. The whole process can be smelly endeavor. When you locate your compost bin, try to keep this in mind… Locate it as far away from your home as possible! If you collect scraps to add to your compost bin over the weekend, save your scraps in a bucket in the freezer so that you don’t smell those either.
Once you have located your bin and started adding materials, you need to remember to turn your compost. This will speed up the breakdown of materials into the substances that will help your garden grow well. Add scraps on a weekly basis and turn your compost just as often.
When you are adding materials to your compost heap, a good rule of thumb to follow is to maintain a balance of nitrogen rich materials (e.g. grass clippings and kitchen scraps) with carbon rich materials (e.g. dried leaves and wood chips). These composting materials should be input in about equal quantities.
Stay away from very acidic or alkaline scraps. These types of materials can create an undesirable pH level, so it is better to just refrain from adding them to your compost bin.
In order to speed the decomposition, it is best to locate your bin in either full or partial sun. The heat is favorable to the bio organisms that break the material down into the compost you desire.
A good rule for gardeners everywhere is to add earthworms to your garden. These are available at your local nursery or bait shop. Earthworms aerate and turn the soil and are beneficial to plant life in your garden.
If you are going to add paper to your compost heap, be sure to shred it as finely as possible. It may be a good idea to use scissors to cut up the paper after you have run it through your shredder to speed the decomposition process.
Finally, you should feel free to add any kitchen waste, but remember that smaller pieces are better. Stay away from bones and other things that do not decompose rapidly. Vegetables and fruits work best.
Keeping a compost bin not only will supply you with a constant source of rich fertilizer, but it also helps your household produce a greater yield from your garden and increases your household’s recycling. Hopefully these tips will allow you to maintain a successful compost bin!