Texas Star

Home
About Us
Garden Philosophy
Soil Improvement
Composting
Ask Josephine
Get Certified
TX Native Database









Composting

Turning 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 your yard?
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.