Make Your Own Garden Compost

Make Your Own Garden Compost

Garden compost improves soil structure. Most gardeners don’t start with great soil. Whether yours is hard and compacted, sandy, stony, heavy, or wet, adding garden compost will improve its texture, water-holding capacity, and fertility. Prepare a 20-gallon plastic or wood bin for the compost pile. Drill several holes in each side of the bin for air circulation and put it in a moderately warm, protected location. Don’t leave the bin in hot, sunny locations or where it can be rained on, as these elements damage the composting balance. Fill the bin one-quarter full of garden or topsoil to give the compost structure. Add organic kitchen scraps like fruit, vegetables, bread, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea leaves and nuts. Balance these nitrogen-rich scraps with carbon-rich garden scraps like leaves, grass, wood, dryer lint, manure, straw and animal bedding. Add paper goods like cardboard, paper and tissue from the house. Use a wide range of ingredients for balanced, healthy garden compost. Water the compost until it’s moist throughout, but not soggy. Garden compost requires consistent, steady moisture content for breakdown.

Never over water, as garden compost cools, then rots when it gets too wet. Stir the compost twice a day. The microorganisms responsible for breaking down the compost need air to do their job, and suffocate without adequate aeration. Mix the compost more often for quicker breakdown. “Feed” the compost pile once a week for best results. Mix new additions into the compost, then water to maintain moisture. Harvest the compost when it reaches a uniformly dark, crumbly consistency. Harvest time ranges from several weeks to several months, depending on mixing and weather. Take dark and crumbly material only, and leave unfinished compost in the bin for more mixing.

Backyard Garden With Wooden Raised Beds

Even very experienced gardeners often have soil that is less than perfect. Adding compost moderates pH and fertility problems, so you can concentrate on the pleasures of gardening, not the science of your soil’s chemical composition. Unlike organic or inorganic fertilizers, which need to be applied at the right time and in the right amount, compost can be applied at any time and in any amount.

Backyard Garden With Wooden Raised Beds

Outdoor Garden With Trees And Walkway

Compost provides a balanced source of plant nutrients. Even if you are lucky enough to have great soil, you can't expect that soil to remain rich and productive without replenishing the nutrients that are consumed each growing season.

Outdoor Garden With Trees And Walkway

Small Garden With Compost

Compost is the ultimate ingredient for building fertile soil.

Small Garden With Compost

Large Vegetable Garden With Compost

You don’t have to be a magician to turn the poor soil in your garden into a source of riches for your plants. By using waste products, you can make compost, which enriches the soil, increases water retention and provides nutrients for plants.

Large Vegetable Garden With Compost

Perennial Garden With Compost

Compost can be sprinkled around plants during the growing season or used as a mulch in your perennial gardens.

Perennial Garden With Compost

Outdoor Backyard With Compost

Compost is the perfect thing to spread around when you are creating a new garden, seeding a new lawn area, or planting a new tree.

Outdoor Backyard With Compost

Backyard Gardening With Compost

The greenest gardeners go one step farther and keep compost bins to recycle waste and build their own compost.

Backyard Gardening With Compost

Vegetable Garden With Compost

Compost is teeming with all kinds of microorganisms and soil fauna that help convert soil nutrients into a form that can be readily absorbed by your plants.

Vegetable Garden With Compost

Gardening In The Yard With Compost

All plants require the right soil foundations for growing and blooming. Green and organic gardeners build garden foundations with rich organic matter for nutrition and moisture, and add compost through the season to maintain soil quality.

Gardening In The Yard With Compost
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