What is the single most important boost you can give your garden? The answer is a compost diet that fuels plant growth and vitality to soil. Follow this recipe to compost step by step make your own nutrient-rich humus:
1) Create your pile on bare earth to allow worms and beneficial organisms to help.
2) Lay thicker sticks, twigs and straw down to aid with aeration.
3) Build layers of carbon and nitrogen materials (see YES list below).
4) Keep moist to the point that it’s not dripping but a handful can hold a shape when squeezed together.
5) Cover with wood or other sheeting to build up heat and retain moisture.
6)Turn quickly every 10 days with a shovel
7)Repeat steps 1 – 6 until the pile is a meter high. After that, start a new one.
An important step in compost step by step is to aim to have equal amounts of the following YES materials:
-Shredded cardboard, news- and other paper (gives carbon): only use non-glossy, ink-free paper (unless environment-friendly).
-Shrub prunings (gives carbon): the thicker sticks may take long to break down.
-Wood chips / pellets (gives a lot of carbon): use sparingly.
-Wood ash (gives carbon): use sparingly,only from clean materials.
-Hay or straw (gives carbon): straw is best as hay comes with seeds.
-Pine needles (gives carbon): can activate the compost pile and best used sparingly.
-Brown leaves (gives carbon): this makes a good much too.
-Corn cobs (gives carbon) slower to decompose when whole.
-Tea leaves (gives nitrogen): teabags or leaves can be used in any amount and they are great for activation of compost heaps.
-Food Scraps (fives nitrogen): follow dry carbon items with nitrogen items).
-Seaweed and kelp (gives nitrogen): great when added in thing layers.
-Green leaves, garden weeds and lawn clippings (gives nitrogen): lawn clippings should be un-clumped and thinly spread.
-Green comfrey leaves (gives nitrogen): an excellent activator for compost heaps and general food source.
-Flowers and stems (gives nitrogen): shredding up stems will speed up the process.
-Eggshells (gives calcium): best when crushed.
-Coffee grounds (gives nitrogen): an excellent garden booster, but don’t go wild.
-Chicken manure (gives nitrogen): another excellent activator.
Have none of the following NO materials:
-Sawdust should be used cautiously (sawdust is sometimes contaminated with oil and chemicals): mix properly in to avoid clumping.
-Meat, bones, or fish scraps (they attract pests): unless using a special composter designed for this purpose.
-Perennial weeds or diseased plants (they spread through seeds and infect through disease): de-weed before seed.
-Pet waste (in the case of using compost on food plants): for obvious reasons.
Compost step by step TIPS:
-Garden soil mixed in too, will help mask odors and microorganisms in the soil will accelerate the composting process.
-Activate your compost heap. use leaves wrapped in burlap and soaked in a large bucket of water. After three days, remove the “tea bag” and throw onto the compost. Pour the enriched tea onto your plants and shrubs. Comfrey leaves, grass clippings, young weeds, and well-rotted chicken manure all make excellent teas to activate.
-Avoid sogginess by maintaining a perfect nitrogen/carbon ratio.
In short: add balance (nitrogen/carbon), add moisture, turn, repeat.