DIY Gardening: 10 Steps to Create Your Own Compost HeapAugust 9, 2019
Last modified: August 12, 2019
Ever wanted to save some money on gardening?
By making your own compost, you can lower your gardening budget and reduce waste at the same time!
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build a successful compost pile for your garden:
Ten Steps to Create Your Own Compost Heap
#1 Use a Pile Instead of a Container
Compost bins are readily available on the market, but you can opt not to use one, to begin with!
Forget about plastic compost bins and start using an open pile or container to promote sustainable gardening.
To keep out the pests and preserve the heat, use enclosed storages instead.
Take note: don’t cover your container at the bottom.
Good compost should be directly touching the ground.
What’s the best place to place your container?
Put in a grassy and relatively shady part of your garden.
#2 Branches and Twigs for Your Base
For the base, you can pile tree branches and twigs at the bottom of the container.
This technique will allow air to enter from below.
Aside from aerating your pile, using branches and twigs will also help drain your compost well.
#3 Balance out the Nitrogen, Carbon, Water and Air
After stacking up the course materials, apply one of the major keys to successful composting — balancing out the nitrogen, carbon, water and air.
Nitrogen can be found in green organic materials while carbons in brown substances.
#4 Chop Any Big Chunks Into Fine Articles
Before putting everything in the container, make sure to chop or break up any big chunks into fine particles.
Then, simply alternate a layer of greens and browns on top of your base to create a successful compost heap.
If you have no idea what to put on your pile yet, make sure to check out our garden experts’ perfect compost recipe.
#5 Include Only the Best Ingredients
Not all food waste can be added into the mixture.
For an efficient compost heap, make sure you only combine the best ingredients.
Best Compost Ingredients:
- dried leaves
- tea leaves
- grass clippings
- old wine
- coffee grounds
- used pet bedding (from omnivores only – like rabbits and hamsters etc.)
- dust from sweeping and vacuuming
- dry cat or dog food
- old herbs and spices
- shredded newspaper
- hair (human and animals)
- wine corks
#6 Avoid Adding Rotting and Processed Food
Meat, dairy products, and bread should not be included in your compost heap.
These foods rot and attract pests to the pile.
High-processed foods are also not an ideal addition to it.
Compared to other foods, these kinds take longer to break down.
#7 Bury New Scraps Under the Old Pile
You can regularly add new scraps to your compost heap.
But instead of just tossing them on top, it’s recommended to bury them under the old pile.
This way, the decomposing old pile can help the new scraps to start decomposing faster.
#8 Aerate the Pile
Maintaining your compost heap is an easy task.
Simply use a spade or shovel to mix all the materials around and aerate the pile slightly.
Do it around once a week to keep all the nutrients balanced around the compost.
#9 Pour Some Water
Once you notice the pile is getting a little dry, pour some water to moisten it a bit.
During really hot days, you should consider covering your pile so that it can still retain the moisture.
#10 Ready to Use
After a few months, your compost should be ready to use.
To make sure it’s completely broken down, it should have turned into a dark brown colour.
Take note that the bottom should also have an almost soil-like texture, and it should have an earthy smell and is warm to the touch.
Then, continue composting on a regular basis and make it one of your dirt cheap gardening techniques!