Thursday, October 01, 2009

Compost Happens - Easiest Compost Ever

Original Posting:
June 2009
Going organic in the garden is vital to creating a healthy and thriving backyard ecosystem and the most important thing for an eco friendly organic garden is compost!

Compost happens. There is a lot of discussion in the garden community about the "right" way to make your own compost. Some say layer your green and brown material. Others say you must use specialized composting machines and expensive plastic composters. Still others talk about a constant mixing of ingredients and lots of back breaking work.

I disagree. Compost happens. Mother nature has been composting organic materials since the beginning of time. So here are my ideas for creating lush, loamy, organic FANTASTIC compost in your backyard without breaking the bank or breaking your back!

This photo on the left is my recycled composter. Very simple and very effective. I actually used a peice of wire fencing that used to be part of an old deck. So this baby is 100% recycled and may have gone to a landfill had I not asked for it at a jobsite. Not only eco friendly, but it cost me $0, so it was pocket book friendly too!

You may have this or some hardware cloth in your garden shed already. Just form the fencing into a tube by attaching one end to the other. This one was made with about 6 or 7 feet of reclaimed wire fencing. The tube, when formed is about 3 feet in diameter.

I whipped this one up in about 30 minutes and have been using it continuously for 3 years and have created quite a bit of "black gold" from my kitchen waste and yard trimmings. I imagine it will last for at least another 3 years too!

Now if you've been researching composting, you've probably heard that you must layer evenly brown and green materials to create compost. How inconvenient, since your greens (grass clippings, kitchen scraps, garden trimmings) are all readily available in the warm spring and summer months and brown (fallen leaves, fir needles etc) are only available from your yard in the fall. But I've learned through my experience that it's not true at all. Like I mentioned, Mother nature has been doing this for all time!

I layer in my compostables in no particular order, it's just what I have available at the given moment. So in the summer when I have a lot of green materials, I toss those in. In the fall when I have a lot of brown ingredients I toss those in then. Without fail every spring I have lucious black compost to add to my garden beds.

In the summertime I water my compost about once per week, and I periodically poke at it with a stick to create airflow in the center of the pile. The great thing about my fencing style composter is that it gets air and water through the holes in the fencing, but the plant matter is easily held inside the fencing.

I leave my composting material in the tube from fall through spring. When it's ready I simply pull the tube off the pile and move it over a foot or so in the same area of my yard. Then if there is a layer on top that hasn't fully decomposed, I transfer it to the moved compost bin and harvest what is ready. I shovel the finished compost into my wheelbarrow and distribute it throughout the garden.

Organic compost improves your soil quality by introducing worms and other good bugs into your garden. It feeds your plants naturally, eliminating the need for any chemical fertilizers. It improves the planet because you keep this useful waste out of the landfills.

Yes! It really is that easy!

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