TX Native Database
organic waste into useable fertilizer for your yard.
What is compost?
Compost is made of all kinds of organic material that has been digested
by soil bacteria.
What are the benefits of compost?
Compost benefits plants by putting air and natural organic compounds into
the soil,thereby feeding plants on a steady slow basis, improving the soil
texture and helping with water retention. Compost also benefits the environment
by reducing waste and putting it to good use.
Can compost be made in a simple way in your own back yard?
Certainly, no fancy equipment is necessary, but some kind of container
or enclosure is helpful.
What kinds of waste can be put in compost?
All kinds of organic matter, such as vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells,coffee
grounds, leaves, grass clippings,old plants and weeds you might pull from
your garden. You can also put in nut shells, sawdust, cotton hulls and
shredded branches. The list is basically endless but no bones or meat waste
as these will rot and become harmful.
How long does it take to turn organic waste into useable fertilizer for
It depends on the method used. The hot or the cold compost method.
The Hot Method
For the hot method, a pile has to be built all at once, using organic materials
and manure and layering the materials and manure alternating until several
layers are built, lightly watering each layer as it is added. The pile
will then heat-up in a day or two and start to steam. After two weeks the
pile must be turned, that is to take the top layers with a pitch
fork and set them on the ground next to the pile you are working on, and
continue doing this until the top is at the bottom and the bottom at the
top. The purpose of doing this is to incorporate air into the pile to speed
the process of decomposition. This process needs to be repeated after two
weeks and left to rest for one month. At the end of this time it should
be black and crumbly and ready to use. This is a good method to use when
you need compost in a hurry. A compost sifter is a very handy tool that
can be used to separate the larger particles when you need a fine compost.
The larger pieces can be used in the next pile or worked into the soil.
The Cold Method
The cold method is a lot easier and it is the one we prefer because you
don't have to have all the material on hand all at once, but it takes at
least a year to make compost.
For this method it is best to have three bins or some kind of enclosure
to hold your materials. We use concrete block enclosures about three blocks
high and about four by four. You can also use wood or chicken wire if you
do not want it to be permanent.
Have the bins side by side in a row in order to facilitate your work. In
the center bin put grass clippings leaves and all the old plants and trimmings
from the garden. You will use this to cover your fresh kitchen refuse,
such as fruit and vegetable peelings,egg shells coffee and tea grounds
and the like, but remember no meat or bones.
In the bin next to that you start building this year's compost pile.Put
your weekly kitchen waste in the bottom and cover it with a layer of leaves
from the first bin. Continue doing this every week until this bin is full.
It usually takes a year to get the bin filled up.
Then you start on the third bin and repeat the process and by the end of
the second year and every year thereafter you will have a full bin of ready
compost, and another in the works. It is not necessary to use manure with
this method. The decomposition is accomplished by soil fauna and beneficial
bacteria The nice thing about this method is that you can use your materials
as you accumulate then. The sifter is handy for this also, and the larger
pieces can be put in the bin that holds your cover materials.
Have fun composting and enjoy all the wonderful benefits, your plants
will love you and reward you with improved health and beauty.