Composting Made Easy
Using your own compost to make your own soil is an amazing experience. What you get when you’re done is rich, black soil that smells fresh and new. It’s nature at its finest, breaking down the materials into the basic building blocks of life.
Step #1: Gather Carbon-Rich Materials
Shredded newspapers, fall leaves, straw, dead flowers and other brown matter from your yard will work great as brown materials. Spread carbon-rich materials around at least a 3-foot by 3-foot area, making it at least a few inches thick in a sunny location of your yard. If you’re not using a container, use big sticks and fallen branches to create a base area.
Step #2: Add Nitrogen-Rich Materials
Now take green materials like grass, plant-based kitchen waste, and barnyard animal manure from non-carnivore animals. Chicken manure works great and yes, it’s not “green” in color but it has lots of green stuff in it. Layer this mixture on top of the brown materials a couple more inches thick. The ratio to remember is three times as much brown material as green material.
Step #3: Add Garden Soil
On top of the green and brown materials, add a thin layer of garden soil. Use a soil mix that is organic, free of fuel-based ingredients and peat moss. If you already have prepared soil from your garden, it will work better to add some of that into your compost mixture rather than packaged soil that could have ingredients in it that you don’t want to use.
Step #4: Prepare Area
Now you want to make another layer with brown materials. Moisten the layers, then add several more layers until your pile is at least three feet tall. Again, you’re looking for a ratio of three parts brown materials to one part green materials. It doesn’t matter how many layers you put, just keep in mind this ratio as you make your layers.
Step #5: Have Patience
Over the next few weeks, turn the soil with a fork or shovel every couple of weeks. You want to move the materials from the inside to the outside of the pile. Keep the pile moist but avoid allowing it to get soggy. If you need to tent it or cover the pile to avoid rain washing it away, this is a good idea. You can also put all the ingredients into a special container called a compost bin to protect it if you prefer.
This will make the best soil for you to grow healthy plants in. Plus, you won’t harm the environment; in fact, you'll improve the environment by avoiding adding more stuff to landfills in the form of kitchen waste, yard trimmings and so forth.
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