Keeping your garden beds healthy doesn’t have to require a lot of chemicals; compost is a greener choice. And making your own compost can provide you with an inexpensive source of plant food. It may sound daunting to create and maintain a compost bin, but the plan to start composting and making black gold compost can be quite simple. The bin can be an actual plastic composting bin purchased at the local hardware store or through a community resource. These bins can be stationary or spinning. If the spinning ones are chosen it lessens the amount of maintenance required and makes it a cleaner operation. Instead of turning the compost with a pitchfork, a simple turn of the handle accomplishes the same necessary turning of the compost. The bins can also be a wire enclosure made of wired fencing adhered to the ground with metal stakes designed for that purpose. Or it can be a wooden single bin or three-stage composting enclosure built or purchased for composting. The location should be chosen so it’s away from lounging, grilling, and relaxing spaces, but is still convenient for garden use.
What to put into the compost bin is a combination of “green” and “brown components. It can help to keep it simple. How this combination works is much like reading a recipe card. The compost needs the rich in carbon group of “brown” materials that includes grasses, leaves, weeding waste, and twigs. It also needs the nitrogen rich “green” materials that can include vegetable and fruit peelings and waste, tea bags, espresso grounds, egg shells, etc. Dairy and meat products aren’t in the recipe and so should never be included in the compostable waste used.
Watering the compost bin is often a subject of much discussion. It should be as damp as a wet sponge that has been wrung out. If the bin is an open-air one, relying on rainwater can keep it moist. In addition to keeping it moist an important step is to turn the compost regularly using a pitchfork, a shovel, or giving it an occasional “spin” if the compost bin has a spin option. Check periodically add moisture as needed and “mine” the black good compost when it’s ready.
If you have questions about maintaining a healthy landscape, please give us a call.