What is Compost? Compost is a mix of yard and household items that are organic waste. You place the yard and household items into a pile or bin that you will use for decomposition. Decomposition is a million microscopic organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, which will grow in your decomposition pile. As this process happens, the organisms will devour and recycle the yard and household items into an organic rich fertilizer that you can use in the soil around your home.
Find a place around the outside of your home that will allow you to have a pile of the yard and household items placed for decomposition. You will want to choose a place that is convenient to you, but will also be out of sight from your neighbor’s and your community. You will also want to place the bin in a place that will not create a disturbance to your neighbors; it may smell, so choose an area with good air flow and circulation. By purchasing or making a compost bin, you can strategically place it where you are going to dispose of your yard and household waste. If you do decide to build your own compost bin, use a material that can be recycled. For example, you can use pallets from the local hardware store that are going to be thrown away. Build your bin big enough to store the materials you are going to use.
As you build or purchase your bin, you will want to keep a few factors in mind.
These factors will help create the decomposition process of the materials you are throwing away to use in your soil at a later date.
The size of your pile of yard and household waste should be placed into a bin that is no smaller than 3’x3’x3′. A bin that is much larger or smaller will not give your materials time to transform into compost. The bin will need to allow moisture, aeration and the temperature to affect the compost.
Even though the yard and household materials you are using are useless to you, the materials need moisture to survive and create the organisms to help your soil. Check your bin daily to make sure that moisture is being created by the sun and natural energies that are in your yard. If moisture is not being created, add a little water to help keep it moist. Adding too much moisture will turn your possible compost into water mush. Add little amounts at a time and let nature do the rest. Grass clippings and leaves are a great source to use to add the natural moisture your compost desires.
Keeping your compost aerated is simple. All you have to do is “stir” up the pile. Use a shovel or a rake to mix the yard and household materials around. As you do this, it will create oxygen flow within the pile and will also help the compost pile create the needed moisture. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you will want to mix up your pile often to make sure that the materials are getting oxygen flow.
The temperature that is created in your compost bin can reach up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a great thing to have. The warmer your compost bin is, the more the organisms will be able to create a good source of compost for you to use. As the organisms feed off the materials you have placed into the bin, you will notice that the pile will start to shrink. This is normal and exactly what you should expect to see.