How to Compost - Make Compost - How to make Compost
So you have decided you want to learn how to compost?
A friend recently mentioned to me that she had started to make compost. Not only did she want to reduce some of the items that were being sent to the local landfill but she also wanted to make compost for her garden and yard.
Our conversation got me started on a research project on the internet about how to make compost. I have learned that there are many common household byproducts that you can use to make compost. There are basically two categories of ingredients used to make compost: Green materials and Brown materials. Generally you will want to add approximately equal quantities of these two categories of materials as you make your compost layering them as you go.
So let’s talk about the ingredients you will need as you prepare to make compost.
Green materials can consist of items like grass clippings, landscape trimmings, vegetable scraps, and even fruit peels. In fact almost all excess food items except for meat products and greasy items are candidates for adding to your home made compost. Breads, grains and pastas are all acceptable ingredients for your compost. In fact you can also add coffee grounds (including the filters), tea bags, and even fruit juices to your compost batch.
Brown materials can consist of dry leaves, twigs, straw, sawdust. I live in the desert and don’t have access to much of these types of materials. My more commonly available “brown” ingredients consist of newspaper, junkmail, lightweight cardboard boxes from packaged foods and shredded office paper.
As mentioned earlier, you should add your greens and browns in staggered layers of about equal depths. You should always top the pile off with a brown layer though. Each of these layers provides different properties to help your compost “cook”. The Green layer provides nitrogen to your recipe while the Brown layer provides needed carbon. A proper Carbon/Nitrogen will aid in helping the decomposition process be successful.
Mixing required to add oxygen:
While your compost will begin cooking with the ingredients mentioned above, the decomposition process will slow down over time. As the microbes involved in this process do their thing,… they use up oxygen that is available down within the various layers. It is critical to “mix things up” regularly to re-introduce oxygen to the process and keep the cooking process going at maximum velocity.
The exact approach you use to “mix” or “turn” that batch of compost depends a lot on where you’re “cooking” it. I encourage you to refer to my review of several different compost bins available commercially along with some “do it yourself” bins to get some ideas that I have come across.