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Your Compost Bins and Piles

from: Lawn and Garden Magic

Whether you're going to create an organic vegetable garden or just want an excellent source of nutrient rich soil for your flower beds, creating compost is the way to go. You'll discover a variety of ways to create compost, however, some methods take longer than others.

Compost is made naturally by organic materials breaking down and decomposing -- and decomposition takes time. The larger the materials when added to the compost pile are, the longer they'll take to break down naturally. Therefore, one of the easiest tasks you can take on to help your compost be fully ready faster, is to break the materials down a bit before you add them to your pile.

If, for instance, you're using kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps such as apple and banana peels, either chop them up into smaller pieces before adding them to your compost pile, or run them threw the blender and chop them up smaller. If you're using wood chips or grass clippings, you can make these decompose faster by either grinding them up into much smaller pieces, or burning them and using their ashes. Newspaper can also compost faster if you shred it up before adding it to the compost pile.

There are many different ways to actually create your compost "pile" and the method you choose may not actually involve a pile at all. Piles are the simplest and cheapest ways to create compost though, so that's why you hear about them so much. You can also create a "bin" yourself, or buy a commercial version makes creating compost easier.

Let's look at each of these options.

Compost Piles

A general compost pile can be started in any corner of your yard, or even in an empty garden bed in the fall. Just add the organic materials you want to compost, then turn and mix that pile regularly using a rake, hoe, or pitch fork.

Compost decomposes fastest when it's hot and moist, so you'll have better luck if you create your pile in a hot, sunny spot of your yard. During the summer or dry seasons, you should also water the pile about once each week while you're turning and mixing it. Most of the time informal compost piles of this type take about six months to be fully ready for garden use. That time will vary, of course, based on how much you broke down your organic materials before adding them to the pile.

Most people prefer to create a compost pile all at once, and not add any other material to it while it's decomposing. This allows stuff in the pile to decompose at a steady rate, rather than having partially decomposed items that were added at much later dates.

A compost bin uses the same process as the pile, with the primary difference being that you use a container for your composting. Some people build a small square "stall" to compost in, while others use a metal barrel or a commercial container.

Commercial containers are popular because you can usually turn the compost without even opening up the bin. You simply crank a handle of some kind on the outside to mix everything up, which means you don't need a pitchfork or other garden tools, and you don't have to deal with the decomposing smells that normally surround a compost bin either.


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How To Compost In 5 Simple Steps - Eat. Drink. Better.

How To Compost In 5 Simple Steps
Eat. Drink. Better.
Failure ensued — mostly because that dang compost refused to turn itself! Someone had to get out there with a pitchfork or shovel and do that work. Not being fans of manual labor, we added scraps for awhile, attracted a lot of fruit flies, and ...