Fertilizing your garden is an easy, efficient, and totally natural way to up your gardening game. You don’t risk hurting yourself or plants with chemicals, and it costs little to nothing to start. A good compost blend will supply important nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, boron, cobalt, and zinc to your garden. It also helps soil hold water better and neutralizes toxins like lead.
How to Make your Own Compost – Step by Step
The first step to starting a compost heap is to get a container. Stationary bins are the easiest because you can get them in a kit and assemble them, or just set up a wire-fence cage with good ventilation. You want a bin that retains heat and moisture, since compost essentially needs to be “cooked” in order for the ingredients to break down.
After you have your container, it is time to start building your heap. You should have a mix of food stuffs and “brown” materials. Food stuffs include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells, while “brown” materials like straw, dry leaves, and shredded newspaper fill out the rest. Do not compost with dairy, diseased plants, or anything with meat or grease. These kinds of ingredients will attract animals.
Pile your container beginning with materials like branches and leaves. As you continue to build on your compost, try to add both your food stuffs and brown materials at the same time to balance out your compost. Turned it so everything stays blended and expose the compost to oxygen. You can use a rake, pitchfork, or even an aerator (available for $20 or less) every 1-2 weeks. Make sure the compost is moist.
You’ll know your compost is done when it resembles a dark soil and you can’t tell individual ingredients from each other. It should also smell a little sweet, like a good, rich soil. The composting process can take 3-12 months depending on what stuff you’ve used, how warm the climate is, and so on. To use, simply add it to the soil you use for your garden or potted plants.