Although there are different approaches to home composting, these compost tips will help get any outdoor pile off to a good start. If you suffer cold winters in your area, you are going to want to start your pile in the spring. Be sure to avoid composting directly against a wooden fence. A successful compost pile requires the right mix of “brown” materials (carbon-rich matter like dried leaves and plant debris) and “green” materials (nitrogen-rich fresh plant scraps that haven’t dried or broken down yet). If you can turn it daily, even better! Remember, warm compost piles decompose faster than cool ones. And starting a pile in the spring couldn’t be easier! That also means it’s time to start prepping your garden for the new growing season. Now, Patrick is 100% correct about the superiority of hot compost—that is, a pile that heats up to 140 degrees or so and thus becomes compost quickly. A compost pile needs oxygen in addition to moisture to thrive. All rights reserved. Not only will it give you amazing compost for your flowers and vegetable plants, it’s also the perfect way to put all of the spring cleaning debris from flowerbeds, gardens and lawns to great use! By starting one now, there is enough time for the materials to decompose and be added to the garden/yard in the fall. Tip 1: Get the brown/green ratio right To keep your compost pile healthy and happy, it needs nitrogen, carbon, air and water. Whole leaves will stick together and take forever to compost. Water the compost regularly, then add air to speed the process by turning the compost with your turning fork. Chopping these into smaller pieces is a must for creating a hot pile. If you live in a colder climate, you may find that your pile stops composting during the coldest of the winter season. When used this way, the composting material will supply nutrients to the plant roots, while also acting as a mulch to protect soil from heavy rains and extreme temperatures. Carbon-rich materials are materials that are dry for the most part. And the best way to do that is to turn your pile frequently. Keeping the bin warm is important if you live in an area that has harsh winter temperatures and strong winds. Taking a little extra time to plan ahead can save a headache or simply make composting a little easier later on. Every home should have a bin!) This means that you have to collect a large amount of waste before starting to use your compost tumbler. I typically start a new pile every spring, another by midsummer, and at least one fall pile that will carry through the winter months. It’s also a good idea, if possible, to move your compost to a sheltered location. Learn the basics about composting and how this DIY soil amendment can benefit your garden. Compost, that rich mixture of organic materials added to garden soil that boosts plant growth and development, typically requires warmth for the bacteria to break down plant material. Some prefer to invest in a compost tumbler, but if you don’t want to buy one, you can add a tarp or a DIY cover over the top of your open compost pile. My compost piles slow down and it does create compost in the spring from what I added in the fall. Find tips on how to choose the worm bin that will for your garden. Your well-balanced compost will help in the spring when it's time to start a garden. Product Link : Jobes Organic Compost Starter. Finished, or nearly finished compost is teeming with all kinds of living bacteria and life. From clearing out leaves and plant foliage in flowerbeds and gardens, to cutting back perennials or pruning shrubs and trees, there is a near endless supply of available ingredients. Here is to getting that spring compost pile started today, and reaping the benefits all year long! There is no better time to start composting than by by creating a spring compost pile. This lets the soil absorb the nutrients until it gets warmer again and benefit your plants. If your compost pile is too dry, it won’t be able to heat up. This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, publishing two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. Let's get together. And what if you don’t have an existing pile to pull from? Compost piles that are set on a concrete pad or weed fabric suffer because they are cut off from the soil ecosystem. Bins that sit in the shade of a tree or fence will lose less water to evaporation in the hot summer months. However, If you have a very large pile, it is possible to create warm enough conditions for the heat loving bacteria that beak down the material to thrive in even northern climates. Creating A Classic DIY Garden Bench For Your Home & Garden – With 2 x 4’s! Keep the materials moist and well aerated. I may eventually get a nicer/larger bin, but for now I am using large plastic flour tubs that I had sitting around. This can be done in one of two ways, with existing compost from an old pile, or a compost starter mix. Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths. However, with some wintertime adjustments, you can indeed make compost during the colder months of the year. A sunny spot may be better for northern composters. If you’re starting a new compost pile in the spring, then be sure to turn it regularly to allow air into its deeper pockets. When it comes to creating nutrient-rich soil and growing healthy plants, compost is a must. Some bins can create usable compost in as little as 21 days. Twigs a… Nutrients that leach out of the pile when it rains will improve the soil below the bin. Keep the ratio of oak leaves in your pile under 20% to keep your compost from having too high of a PH. There are fewer flies to attract, and winter's lower temperatures help keep down odors - although if you incorporate enough carbon materials you shouldn't have an odor problem, even in the summer. However, if I start composting in Spring and if it takes me 4-6 months to successfully compost, how will I use that for the summer gardening? If you were able to keep your compost pile going all winter, or you have some leftover finished compost, that will certainly help nourish your garden. Composting can be a fun, exciting process. To begin a compost pile, start the pile on the ground with a bottom layer of sticks, twigs or straw in order to aerate and to allow earthworms and bugs to climb up. Moisture is a huge problem for traditional compost piles that are open; snow or rain falls right instead of it. #5 Activate Your Compost Pile . When starting a new pile, it is important to introduce microbes and organisms to help speed up decomposition. 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