How to Make Compost at Home

How to Make Compost at Home

How to Make Compost at Home – How does the saying go “Time to get your hands dirty”? Gardening can (is) a lot of fun and enjoyment but if you are planning on staying clean while doing it, me thinks you need to think this out again. And I hate to say it, but making compost can be one of the dirtiest jobs of all. So let’s get started.

What is Compost

CompostWhen you combine your household wastes and mix it with items that are biodegradable, such as manure, add a little water, some air and nitrogen, you end up with something called compost.

In its finished state, it is a soil mixture that is dark and will crumble in your hand. It is used as fertilizer or mulch and will also condition your soil.

Out of the mulch come microorganisms that are essential to your plants health and well being.

What Goes into Compost

What Goes into CompostIf you are new to composting, I think you may be surprised what can be added to your compost. I know I was when I first started.

Your compost materials are broken down into 2 categories and labelled as “Green’s” or “Brown’s”.

Greens are your nitrogen’s and moisture and will rot very quickly. Your Brown’s are your waste items that will take a lot longer to rot.

Remember above we mentioned that air was an important component to making compost, well the “Brown’s” will provide the pockets of air required. The Brown’s will also provide the needed carbon and fiber.

Green’s

  • Grass cuttings
  • Vegetable peelings
  • Leaves
  • Fruit
  • Tea bags
  • Weeds
  • Trimmings from hedges
  • Potting soil that has grown old
  • Twigs
  • Coffee filters with coffee grounds
  • Weeds that have not went to seed
  • Plant stalks

Brown’s

  •  Cardboard boxes
  • Newspapers (scrunched up)
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Egg shells (crushed)
  • Shredded paper
  • Twigs and hedge clippings

What Does NOT go into compost

We have listed above what you can put in your compost; here is a list of what you should NOT put in your compost:

  • Weeds that have went to seed
  • Dead animals
  • Pet feces
  • Bread and grains
  • Meat
  • Grease
  • Cooking oil
  • Oily foods
  • Diseased plants

Making Quality Compost

First off, it is not hard to make good compost; you just need to be careful that you get the right mix of your Green’s and Brown’s. So now we will get into how to make compost at home.

Start out by mixing your Brown’s and Green’s in a ratio of about 3:1 (3 – Brown, 1 – Green). “Now that sounds easing enough, but how do I make sure the ratio is 3:1”? Again, glad you asked. So, how about you get a pile of your Green’s put them in your compost area and then add 3 times equal parts of your Brown’s.

If you can make this pile about 3 feet high it should also give you a base of about 3 feet. The more you have of the mixture, the quicker and easier it will break down.

You may want to help the process along by adding an existing pile of compost to your newly started pile.

There is no worry about the mixture having an odor or smell to it if you have mixed it properly. Look for an earthy smell not a rotting smell.

So how do you know if you have the right combination? Good Question, I never thought you would ask. If your mixture looks a little too dry, then add more Green’s.

Also, there will be a need to add moisture to your compost when starting out. When we say moisture, we don’t mean that you want to soak the pile with water. As the pile moistens it should feel sponge. That tells you there is enough moisture.

By keeping the pile moist, you are quickening the breakdown of your Green’s and Brown’s into compost.

Then the opposite, if your mixture looks a little too wet then add more Brown’s. Pretty simple, eh?

At least once a week you will need to take a shovel or pitch fork and turn over your compost. This will loosen up the mixture allowing more air to flow. This will help in quickening the process.

How Long To Become Compost

This is a tricky question and there are many factors that come into play here. First thing that needs to be considered is the amount and mixture of of your Brown’s and Green’s. Then you need to consider the weather and the conditions of your surroundings. The average time for the mixture to be ready as compost is probably between 6 and 9 months. By this time the original ingredients shouldn’t be recognized, you will not have compost.

Compost Location

As the title of the movie starring James Caan would suggest, try to hide your compost in plain sight; as close to your garden as possible but not where it becomes a distraction. What has not been mentioned yet in this article is that your compost should be placed in some sort of bin, or closed in area like a fenced off area. This will be covered in another article.

Conclusion

As you can see, making compost is quite easy and requires not too much of your time, but it will cause you to get your hands dirty 🙂 We have tried to show you how to make compost at home, so now it’s your turn. Go get started!!

I hope you have found this article interesting and informative. I take great pride in this website and will try my hardest to give you the best possible content.

2016 Summer Shares Now Available!

Corn

Season #7!!!

Becoming a CSA member at Annie’s means that you are purchasing a vegetable share for a period of 22 weeks. This year shares will begin May 18 and will end October 16. Shares can either be weekly deliveries or every other week. If you are looking for more than vegetables, Annie’s also has shares that will provide you with fruit, raspberries, strawberries, apples, and honey. You can also try our Staples Shares which features Hansen’s milk, butter, S&C Organic eggs, and fresh bread from Dough and Joe Bakery.

Taking a few weeks off to go on vacation during the summer? That’s okay. Just give us a call and tell us the time you will be gone and no deliveries will be made during that time. You can resume when you return and we will double your share or extend your share into November. Annie’s will also take the time to make your share fit your dietary needs. We don’t want you to receive produce you are unable to consume. Therefore, if you have allergies to certain types of foods, let us know and we will not include them. Or possibly you just are not able to consume some types of produce, or you really cannot stomach a certain type of produce. Please let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you in creating a produce share that fits your needs.

Buying locally not only keeps monies within your community but it allows you the opportunity to know who is growing your food and how they are growing it. All of our produce is naturally raised with organic practices. Annie’s was USDA GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) certified in 2010.

We look forward to having you join our CSA and if you are ever in the area, be sure to stop in. We will be glad to give you a tour!

Welcome to Annie’s Gardens and Greens!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our webstie.

In November of 2013, I closed the doors to Annie’s GreenGrocery in Calmar, and December 29, 2014 I sold the building to Jason Sparrow.

Last year was my first year of growing produce only for the CSA. I had intentions of keeping the roadside stand going, but due to all of the rain we had, my produce did not grow very well at first. The year may have started off on a soggy note, but as the summer went on things began to pick up and I had plenty of items to fill my CSA bags.

Annie’s grows heirloom vegetables. Heirlooms are the original seed, meaning that if you save the seed you will end up with the same plant that you started out with. Hybrids are plants that take two different plants and their qualities and make it into a “better” plant. However, you cannot save hybrid seed as it will go back to one of the original plants.

I have always been very conscience about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and do not use any kind of GMO seeds. Several years ago, I made the decision to raise all of our seeds in organic soil and compost. We do not fertilize with chemicals but use only compost. This makes for a very healthy plant.

It is my hope that 2016 will be a better growing season and that I can reopen the roadside stand.

Be sure to stop in and chat a while and remember to ENJOY!!