The making of compost is not new. Composts have been made for thousands of years by the Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and the people of many European nations. While the methods employed in the various parts of the world have varied considerably, the principle is essentially the same.
The procedure involved in building your own fertilizer factory is relatively simple. Only the following steps need to be kept in mind:
Pick A Good Site
Select a Good Site – preferably a spot protected on the north, east, and west by a wall, fence, or hedge. This prevents the heap from excessive drafts which dry it out.
The spot should be close to your garden and near a source of water. Find a flat location that will drain easily. Space should be available near the heap for accumulating the materials used in its construction.
Make The Compost Pile The Right Size
The size, of course, will depend upon the area of your garden and the amount of material which you accumulate for composting.
The minimum size, however, should be five feet square in order to assure proper “heating” in decomposition.
Compost The Right Materials
The materials used in composting consist of:
- Green vegetable matter, old coffee grinds or garbage.
- Organic materials (animal products or waste),
- Wood ashes or agricultural lime (required to alkalinize or sweeten the heap),
- Ordinary garden soil – preferably rich with bacteria. If kitchen wastes or garbage is used in the heap all fats and oils should be eliminated.
Build Compost In Layers
The compost heap is built in layers, starting with the green materials such as weeds, kitchen garbage, vegetable tops. grass clippings, etc.
The green vegetable matter and the animal waste products are used in a ratio of three to one. It is advisable to place some heavy branches at the bottom of the pile so that air can enter at the bottom.
Start with about six inches of green waste material on top of the branches.
Add two or three inches of organic material (animal products or manure) to the green wastes, sprinkle with agricultural lime or wood ashes, and cover with an inch of good soil.
Repeat the same process until all of your materials are used. The heap should not exceed a height of five feet when finished. Keep the entire pile moist and as loose as possible for air to enter.
The top layer of manure and the final covering of earth should be considerably heavier than those used in the preceding layers to prevent the pile from drying.
Excessive dryness hinders the necessary heating and decomposition of the materials.
When the heap is finished, pierce with three or four holes from the top with a pitchfork to permit air and water to enter.
Turn the pile with a pitchfork at the end of three weeks after starting and again at the end of eight weeks.
Over time a compost pile will help you build a rich garden soil.