With everyone going green this week and earth day having just passed us up on Wednesday, I thought I would do my part and talk about a frugal, and green topic. Compost is probably one the best things you can give your garden to help it to grow and produce a bounty of vegetables. If you have a little bit of space in your backyard it isn’t even that hard to do. The vegetables you grew this year could vary well feed your vegetables for next year.
What you need
Space for your bin/pile – you can use any variety of the fancy bins that are out there for composting, you can even use those really neat turning barrel system, none of these are actually necessary and are just going to cost you money. The easiest way to compost is just to create a pile of yard refuse and kitchen scraps in a back corner of your yard. Your pile needs to be at least 3’x3’x3′ and no bigger than 5’x5’x5′ if you leave enough space for two piles it will be easier to turn.
Materials – You can compost almost all organic material I typically use coffee grounds (including the filter), egg shells, vegetable scraps, leaves, and grass clippings. For a more complete list check out this list of 163 things you can compost.
Water – compost piles require both moisture and air to effectively turn scraps and waste into usable dirt. Make sure your pile is going to get enough air to allow the microbes to work but not so much to dry the pile out, you also don’t want it to stay soaking wet.
Time and Turning – You are going to have to be patient as it takes time for organic material to break down, even in the most ideal environment. Compost piles require periodic turning to get the exterior of the pile, which was breaking down, into the middle. Most people turn their piles once a month or every 5 weeks. I wouldn’t turn it much more frequently. If you don’t turn your pile regularly only the middle will break down and you won’t get good clean usable compost.
That is it. You don’t need much else, maybe a pitch fork to more easily turn the pile but other than that it really just takes a little effort and a little time and you will have the best supplement for your garden that money can’t buy.