Using your compost in your garden.

Now that you have gone through the steps of making your own "black gold" for your gardens, what do you do now? Basically, add some compost to any area of the garden that you like, including an indoors or outside gardens. Gently mix it in, or just add to the top. In the spring especially, putting large quantities of compost in the areas you will be growing things is ideal. Your garden will be very happy to have this addition.

In the fall, you can add back some parts that are not diseased, as you are cleaning things up. Those parts can work all winter long, on a great new compost for later. Make sure to never add any diseased plants to your compost pile. The next spring you will be so happy you did.

What else can I do to get great compost?

Make sure to turn the pile of compost about once a week. Getting the parts on the outside in toward the middle is a good idea. Basically exposing newer compost and moving it all around will get the job done. You can use a shovel or a rake, etc. The goal is to get all the beneficial organisms a chance to help work on and break down the rest of the material. As the pile heats up, and continues to get sufficient moisture, and gets turned regulary you will end up with some great compost! It will take about two months or so. What a great way to recycle and make use of what normally would be just trash.

What "ingredients" go into compost? Making your "black gold"

In short, you will need three things for your compost. I will go into more detail about each. You will need:

Sufficient moisture
Green "material"
Brown "material"

Water is a key ingredient for a compost pile to thrive. Without this moisture, your pile will take months to do anything. If dry enough, your compost won't break down at all. You can tell if your pile is too wet, if it become smelly and slimey, and the ratio of good/bad bacteria will be "off". The bad bacteria will have outweighed the good. The goal is to help it remain damp, but not dripping wet. If you do not get enough rainfall to keep it just right, you can dump a bucket over it once a week to get and keep things moving.

One way to test if things are going well, is if the compost pile is hot in the middle. This is important to sterilize the compost. It also kills the weed seeds and any bad "stuff" that is in there. (like any harmful bad bacteria, etc.) The heat is proof that the ratio is working just right for your compost pile.

"Green material" would include the following things:
(Kitchen scraps, would cover a lot of what could be termed green material.)
Coffee grounds
Peelings (potato, carrot, apples, etc)
fruit cores
manure (only barn yard animals, no cat or dog waste)
grass clippings
(Important, No greasy meats or anything with grease in it can be used. Keep strictly to the above items or things like them. Other than that, almost all kitchen scraps can be used.)
Green material is high in nitrogen, and great for the garden.

"Brown material" would include the following things:
Small branches or twigs
Cornstalks and other general kitchen scraps
(Brown material is high in carbon, and works wonderfully with the nitrogen)
You can use stems or any parts of herbs, for example for this. Put it back in the bin.

Determine your composting needs.

Determine your needs first. What kind of compost bin will you want, how "nice" do you want it to be, since it will become a fixture somewhere, like along side the house, or in a garage, under a sink, etc. How much compost will you need? Some need compost for a smaller indoor herb garden. Some will want compost for a larger vegetable garden and flower garden, etc.

You will need some kind of container, and your choices depend on how aesthetic you need it to be, and how much money you have to spend. I like the idea of using a rubbermaid container to begin with. Some use vermiculture, using worms in your compost. They help the process along. Whatever you end up using, it need not be anything fancy. Some have used wire and wooden pallets they have found. You need only to be able to mix the composting mixture around, to turn it over.

Helping your garden with compost

All gardens can benefit from having more of the needed nutrients for the plants you are growing. Adding compost is one way to do this. Adding organic matter, that is packed with the nutrients will help your garden to really thrive. While compost can be purchased, it is easy to make on your own. Save some of that money you would have used for purchasing compost and put it back into getting some new plants or seeds.

In short, composting is basically putting organic materials into a container, and adding some water. That pile of organic matter is periodically turned over. By helping the beneficial bacteria survive and work their magic, you can get some great compost. Heat will be generated and help to break down and decompose the raw organic materials. In time, it will turn into a rich, soil like product. When it is complete, you will have no original parts of vegetables or peelings, etc, but something that has a good earthy odor to it.

Learning to make your own compost

I have been learning about making my own compost for the garden. Gardening is such a joy, but after a while you begin to see how your soil need some amending to keep up with what you are growing. For instance, one year we had the greatest crop of tomatoes, I mean it was fantastic and fun. My younger son and I had great fun going out and just picking the tomatoes and bringing them in. I never ceased to be amazed. What got my attention was the year after that, when we had a rather poor result with our tomatoes. I wondered if something had been wrong with the plants themselves, or if the summer had been especially severe, etc. Turns out it was that the soil was probably depleted from the necessary nutrients that tomatoes need. This made complete sense to me.

I already know how much money one can spend going to the local garden center, so I kind of inwardly groaned as I thought about adding some good compost and fertilizer to the list. Then I recalled that you can simply create your own great compost using certain kitchen waste that you may normally throw away. So, here is what I have learned and some tips and ideas on how to make your own compost.

Feel free to leave any of your own thoughts and experiences. Thank you for stopping by.