Creating a Compost Pile
Compost is a very good thing to learn how to create for amending your flower/veggie beds and for using as a plant medium.(but not recommended for use with houseplants as the compost can contain weed seeds)
Properly made compost will have a dark brown or black color and a nice earthy smell to it.
Compost has quite a few benefits, some of which are:
Helping to alleviate plant pests and diseases.
Reducing and even eliminating the need to use any type of chemical fertilizer.
Promotes higher yields in vegetable crops.
(To name a few.)
Choose an area close to your garden to create your compost pile.
You can simply pile the organic matter onto the ground, or create a compost bin by making a fenced in area with a "door",
Or even buying a compost tumbler if that suits your fancy.
Whichever method you choose to create your compost pile/bin you can guarantee that creating "black gold" for your garden is a good thing to do.
Not only does it help to keep landfills from being filled up with materials that actually could be of benefit to your garden..but it gives these recycled organic items back to nature...to building better soil for your garden.
And it's a perfect win-win situation...you are helping to keep landfills free of items that most folks don't realize are beneficial to the soil..and you are gaining a gorgeous garden in the process.
What to use to create a compost pile?
Animal manure(chicken,cow,horse,etc. but not cat or dog..think barnyard animal type)Cardboard pieces(think toilet tissue rolls,pieces of cardboard boxes)
Clean paper (a perfect use for junk mail)
Coffee grounds and filters(aha..a good use for the leftovers from your morning brew)
Eggshells(put the benefits of having a backyard flock to even more use..yay!)
Fireplace ashes (after that warm snuggle by the fireplace with your sweet someone..scrape out the ashes and add it to the pile...and give your honey an extra kiss for having a great idea that helps to improve your garden..hee hee)
Fruits and vegetables(you know sometimes the kids just have to have the peelings removed from an apple..well toss it into the pile too..as well as banana peelings and such)
Hair and fur(save the hair from your own hairbrush and from when you groom your pet)
Hay and straw (have to muck out stalls? this is a good thing..really it is. Or ask for the hay/straw from your neighbors muck day)
Houseplants(so the plant kicked the bucket but not from disease or pests..but maybe from that long vacation where ..ughh you forgot to water it..just toss the plant on the pile)
Nut shells(have a batch of nuts for cooking..and have the leftover shells..toss them in the pile/except for black walnut)
Sawdust(have been doing a remodeling project? or wood working..save the sawdust!)
Shredded newspaper (after reading the comics ..the best part after all..toss the whole thing into the pile)
Wool (another great use for the little baa-baa's)
Turn your pile at least once a week...
Use a shovel or pitch fork to sort of stir things up a bit.
This keeps the heat in the pile evenly distributed so that everything can begin to decompose at a good rate.
What NOT to put in the pile
Black walnut tree leaves or twigs (as they release a substance that might harm trees and plants)Coal or charcoal ash(contains substances that might harm plants)
Dairy products (butter,cheese,yogurt,egg yolks,etc) Can turn rancid and just plain smelly(yucko!)..and wind up attracting all sorts of critters...not a good thing)
Diseased and bug-ridden plants(sort of a no brainer..the diseases and buggers get transferred to all the supposed to be good stuff and then "ugh..the aliens have attacked!!" NOT a good thing)Fats, grease, lard, or oils (eeeewe! stinky! a good way to attract flies and rats and mice though..but definitely not recommended)
Meat or fish bones and scraps(o.k..wanna attract CSI because of the smell? ..nawww didn't think so..the yuck smell also attracts rats,mice and other varmints along with flies..yuck! double yuck!)Pet wastes ( dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)(o.k. eeewe gross! a good way to introduce germs, bacteria, viruses and more that can definitely be harmful to people..not a cool thing!)
Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides (o.k. let's say this out loud.."CHEMICALS ARE NOT GOOD!"..o.k. got it..not good for your compost pile..in fact they can actually kill the whole pile of organic matter and then kill the plants you put it on...so NOT cool!)
Now you know what can and can't be used...have fun gathering the items needed to create a healthy compost pile.
Your garden will thank you.
(image courtesy of Public Domain Victory Gardening image)