A compost pile can be a vital source for enriching garden soil and in preventing soil from losing necessary nutrients. Anyone can begin and maintain a compost pile with little effort or tools. Home supply stores also offer a host of products that can be used in creating compost but it can be done in a simple, natural method that is very easy.
Before starting a compost pile, it helps to understand just what a compost pile is and what it does. Composting is a natural process – meaning it occurs in nature without any human assistance – in which organic wastes break down over time to enrich the soil with minerals. On the forest floor, leaves and other materials break down to continually enrich the soil in an annual cycle. Composting is one of many ways that nature refreshes and renews.
Gardeners, whether they grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers, love compost because it revitalizes the soil in a natural way. Materials used in a compost pile or heap must be biodegradeable which simply means that they must be items that will break or rot down in time, thus returning to nature.
Creating a compost pile can take as much or as little actual work as each indivudal wants to put into the project. Results may be faster with physical intervention but the end result will be the same if little exertion is involved. Millions of Americans now have compost heaps in their back yards. These compost piles reduce overall waste and in some cases can become a marketable, even profitable product. Some cities and towns have municipal compost projects in which the final product is given away or used in public areas such as parks.
To begin a compost pile, choose the location. Keep in mind that as matter decomposes, an odor may rise from the pile. For this reason, it’s best to choose an area away from the house and removed from neighboring properties if possible. A remote corner of the yard or the area adjacent to an existing garden site can be ideal. Although various containers or bins can be purchased, a green, environment friendly compost pile can be made without one. The ideal compost pile should be about three feet wide and no more than three feet high.
Start by piling things like fallen leaves, grass cuttings, brush, and dead plants in the area set aside for composting. Spread and mix items together. This is the beginning of a compost pile. Continue to add items so that the pile will begin the composting process.
Items that make an excellent addition to the compost pile include pine needles, kitchen garbage including vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells
If possible, layer the compost pile or heap with alternative dry and moist items. The ideal compost heap should remain moist but not wet in order to begin the decomposing process. Hay or straw can be added to separate layers if needed.
A passive pile needs no further work except for the addition of more biodegradable items, as they are available. It will take longer to create a loose, crumbly earth also known as humus, the desired byproduct of a compost heap without intervention but it is possible.
An active compost heap requires the materials to be turned and maintained in a moist but not wet or dry state.
This can be done with a simple garden rake or shovel or other implements can be purchased.
The humus or soil created in a compost heap can be used to restore vitality to garden soil, to enrich the soil again with missing nutrients or to sell to other gardens.
Many communities in the United States have a community compost heap and often give away humus at planting time or sell it to gardeners at budget cost.
Millions of Americans now have compost heaps in their backyards. As more Americans become environment conscious, the number of compost heaps is expected to increase. Anyone who grows vegetables for table use or beautiful flowers can create their own compost pile easily and safely, with almost no investment. Build one today and begin living green!