Compost is the black gold every gardener loves. Many, however, think making their own compost is too complicated. It’s not difficult once you know the basics. This guide will help you to start your own compost pile!
The basics of composting start with either a pile or a bin in your yard or out in the open. A bin is an enclosed composter that you can make or purchase. Within this container, you can easily mix the layers of material you’re composting.
Once you’ve established where you’re going to put your compost, it’s time to start the process. You’ll want to alternate layers of organic materials. You should have a green layer, which includes items such as weeds, kitchen scraps, egg shells, and grass clippings, as well as a brown layer, which includes things like straw, paper, leaves, cardboard, sawdust, and coir. Alternate these layers while they decompose.
Aerate the pile periodically. In doing so, either mix it using the bin or take a shovel or spading fork to the layers. Be sure to mix all the layers evenly. When using a container, you can give the compost a quick mix every day. With a loose pile, you’ll want to wait about a week or so to start mixing the layers. Once the items decompose together, you can start using the compost where you need it.
Preparing the Compost
Coir — fiber from coconut husks — is a great additive to your compost, as it helps cut down on unpleasant smells and doesn’t attract as many pests. To prepare the compost, spread it so it can dry out. If your coir isn’t already wet, you’ll want to soak it first. Then decompress it and try to expand it as much as possible, after which you can allow it to dry. Let the coir dry completely, and add it to the green layer of your bin or pile. This natural material works to absorb any excess moisture, which helps reduce smells and improves the composting process.
Vermiculture and Composting With Coir
Coir is also excellent for vermiculture — the process of using worms to decompose organic and food waste. Compost makes great bedding for the worms. You’ll need a worm composting bin, however, that’s meant for this purpose. Like normal composting, vermiculture is low-maintenance — the worms do most of the work. Keep the compost damp, and locate the pile in a cool, dry place to give the worms the right environment in which thrive. Move them to the next bin when they’ve finished breaking down the organic material in one container. This process is typically very hands-free.
Now you can start your own compost pile in your yard to create nutrient-rich material for use in the garden. It’s the perfect way to add many of the minerals and nutrients you want to your garden without having to buy fertilizers. It’s also environmentally friendly because you’re not putting unnecessary materials into your local landfill.