The natural decomposition of organic material creates compost. Compost is nature’s way of returning needed nutrients to the soil. It's easy to start your own compost pile at home. The idea behind a compost pile is to create the ideal set of conditions in which natural decomposition occurs.
To get started backyard composting, you may want to use a compost bin. The advantage of using a bin is that it keeps your pile neat and helps retain moisture and heat. You can make your own or buy a bin. Follow the simple composting recipe below.
Greens: Lawn clippings, trimmings, livestock manure, fruit and vegetable scraps. Greens are the nitrogen source of the pile. Greens are sometimes referred to as the wet materials. Browns: Wood chips, dried leaves, straw, sawdust, newspaper. Browns are the carbon source in your pile. Browns are sometimes called the dry materials. Water: Our hard-working micro-organisms that will decompose this material get thirsty. Air (oxygen): And they need to breathe!
Combine equal parts of green and brown material. One cubic yard of material is a good starting point (cubic yard = 3'w x 3'h x 3'd). Mix in water until the pile is as damp as a moist sponge. Turn (fluff up) your pile once a week. Add water if needed. Your pile should get warm. After several months (the actual time will vary based on many factors such as how often you turn the pile), when the material is a dark brown color and smells earthy like humus, your compost is ready for use. Compost is a natural material that can be used as mulch or soil amendment.
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