Thursday, May 28, 2009

What should I put in my Compost bin?

We have 3 huge compost piles in our backyard...and many times when we have people over they ask how do you start one of those, what do you put in them, and why do you do this? I thought I would tell you how we have our compost pile and what we put in ours.

We don't have anything fancy around our piles I guess you could call them compost heaps. We start out with "greens" that would be grass clippings, weeds, kitchen scraps. I would call this "moist" ingredients because these have moisture. "Greens" provide nitrogen. We then add our "browns" this would be straw, sawdust, dead plants, and leaves. This will keep your pile loose so air can get in your pile. Lastly you will need to add your "blacks" This could be garden soil, manure from chicken, rabbits, cows, hogs, *Not* cats or dogs (these may contain parasitic organisms not healthy for your garden) The "black" is what really gets your pile moving it will help your compost to break down more quickly.

Things that should not be put in your compost bin...

Charcoal or ashes from your grill, meat and dairy products,( these could attract animals to your bin) oil, grease, weeds with seeds you will have a weedy compost bin unless you have enough heat to kill those seeds.

We stir our compost a few times a year..we do this with a pitch fork just lifting and turning the heap. You need to make sure air can get into your pile... a huge pile without air will stay a huge pile and not turn into compost.

I make compost tea every year to put on my plants here is the recipe...

I place a few hand fulls of compost in a burlap bag tie bag with a cord. I then place warm water in a 5 gallon bucket ( I some times use a old washed out paint bucket). I put the burlap bag in the bucket and place in the sun for a few hours. (I strain the compost with a old window screen) I then pour this tea at the base of my tomato plants they love it! I do this every couple of weeks.

I would love to hear about your compost bins.

Happy Gardening...