QUESTION: How do I start composting? I was thinking about doing a pile instead of buying a bin. – Victoria C
ANSWER: Composting is a great way to use a variety of scraps around your property while taking care of your garden.
To begin, use a weed eater to clear the ground of all grass where you’re planning to start your compost pile. This makes it easier for bugs, beneath the surface, to reach the materials you want to compost.
Next, start layering your materials to start the composting process. Your first layer should consist of wood brush or straw. The layer needs to be an inch or two thick.
When this layer is in place, add a layer of wet materials. This can consist of food scraps or used tea bags. It’s important that you don’t compost any meat or dairy products. These items don’t compost as quickly and draw many unwanted animals to your compost pile.
The final layer should consist of manure or grass. These items are a source of nitrogen which will jumpstart the composting process.
Once all your layers are in place, spray your compost pile with water. If it rains, this will supply the water needed as well.
After your compost pile is wet, cover it with a large tarp. This will help hold the moisture and heat within the pile.
You want your compost pile to always be moist, so check it occasionally. If necessary, spray the compost pile with a hose.
Every two weeks you should turn your compost pile. It will aerate it which will help with the composting process.
Once your compost pile is decomposing, you can begin adding more items to the pile. You no longer must add items in layers.
Instead, toss your food scraps, tea bags, grass clippings, manure, or straw into the pile as you receive these items. Every time you add something, mix it into the pile to ensure it composts.
Some people choose to create a barrier for their compost pile. You can build three walls made of pallets to keep all the materials in an organized area.
If you’d rather leave your compost pile in a specific area, without boundaries, you can do this as well. Some people use composting barrels, which make turning the pile easier, or you can purchase a compost bin.
How you choose to arrange your compost pile is up to you. However, follow the steps above to ensure your materials compost for later use.