How to Make Compost Fertilizer Soil
Easy Way to Make Compost
First Layer of the Compost Heap
Start on a patch of dirt with a few plant stems or twigs as the bottom layer allowing for air circulation and drainage. An old warehouse pallet could also be used for the bottom. Mix in straw and prunings to create spaces keeping the layers thin and somewhat balanced. When adding to the pile, either bury it into the center, or mix it well while turning the compost. Add weeds, fresh mowed grass, fresh clippings and kitchen scraps.
Material from the kitchen consists of vegetables that are starting to wilt, greens, peelings, egg shells and parts not used. Used coffee grounds and the filters add calcium to the compost. Either crumble the egg shells or process them into powder and mix with the scraps. Tear the coffee filters a few times to add brown matter.
Leave out all meat and dairy product, seed, bread, nuts and beans. These contain food elements that can turn rancid, sour, draw scavengers, grow into plants, or grow mold and bacteria.
1. Organic material such as vegetable waste, sod, grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, chopped corncobs, corn stalks, untreated sawdust, thin twigs and garden waste. The large material of organic nature do best in this ground level layer. These will create air spaces as the pile settles.
2. Plant starters serve as a catalyst that speed up the initial heating within the pile. Nitrogen is provided for the microbial community with proteins and enzymes as well.
3. One to two inches of garden or lawn soil. Avoid soil that has recently been treated with insecticides and sterile potting soils which lack necessary microbes.
Tending the Compost Heap
The temperature of the core will likely reach about 110 to 150 degrees F within two weeks. The pile will begin settling as a good sign that it is working as it should. Turning the heap when it cools below 110 degrees maintains the quickest activity at the highest rate; about every seven to ten days.
Turning a large pile of rich soil can be hard work and requires a solid shovel and pitchfork. It only needs turning once every three to five weeks and should feel a little damp. Shovel from the outside edge into the center.
After having added enough material for decomposition and are needing the soil, stop adding to the pile and allow two weeks to rest and finish. The good soil will fall to the bottom so if it is composted well, the lower layers can be applied to the garden. In three to four months you will have fresh compost. However, depending on weather conditions and the size of the pile, some heaps may take up to a year to generate into compost.
Add water if it is dry, or dry material if wet. Compost is ready to use when it is dark brown and crumbly, or a bit fluffy with an earthy aroma. It should neither be moldy nor rotten. When it appears about ready, allow it to set a few weeks to stabilize the decomposition process. A compost pile can be left to shut down through the winter and reactivated again in the spring.
Recycling green and brown material waste into a rich organic soil makes a great compost and a valuable product. A little attention from time to time is all the compost needs to reward you with a harvest of organic vegetables.