Turn your unwanted organic waste into rich garden compost - your plants will love you for it.
Compost has the ability to improve soil structure, good garden compost is loose and has a high water-holding capacity with adequate drainage, adding garden compost to heavy clay soils will improve the soil structure which in turn will give better drainage to a clay soil. When adding Garden Compost to sandy soil, it will improve the water-holding capacity of the soil.
3 Top Tips to achieve the ideal garden compost
Top Tip # 1- Carbon to nitrogen ratio
All living organisms are made of large amounts of carbon (C) combined with smaller amounts of nitrogen (N). This ratio is an important factor determining how easily bacteria can decompose organic waste. The microorganisms in garden compost use carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein synthesis. Given a steady diet at this 30:1 ratio, bacteria can work on organic material very quickly
Top Tip # 2 - Moisture content
Squeeze your garden compost, ideally you should just get a drop of moisture or none at all), 40-50% moisture
Top Tip # 3 – Temperature
Your compost pile should not exceed a temperature of 70 degrees the pile should be turned at 65 degrees.
How to build a garden compost pile
Start with 10-15cm layer of chopped branches or other coarse material set on top of the soil.
This will let air circulate under the base of the pile.
Add 10cm (3-4 inch) layer of grass clippings (low carbon organic material) to your garden compost.
You should moisten all layers as you add to the pile.
Add 10-15cm layer of high carbon organic material (leaves or garden waste).
Add a layer of finished compost or soil to the pile as your next layer to introduce micro-organisms into the pile which is needed to break down the organic matter into compost.
Add another layer of mulch, putting a light sprinkle of chook manure fertilizer over the mulch.
Repeat the "layering" process until the garden composting bin or pile is filled.
Other ingredients you can add to the pile as you go along are kitchen scraps, paper, cardboard, leaves, woody material broken up by a garden mulcher.
Containers or structures used for garden compost
Square box (50cm x 50cm) with a flap at the front to collect your finished garden compost.
You can build a simple 3 sided box out of tin or old pallets to do your composting in, you just need to confine the compost to that area.
You can buy a lot of different types of garden compost makers from small plastic igloo shape bins to rotating barrels on a stand.
The rotating barrel on a stand is great as you can turn the compost with little effort.
It is raised so when the garden compost is made then just wheel your wheel barrow in, open up the flap to the compost bin and fill up the wheel barrow and off you go to spread the compost out over your garden.
The compost process
In an active compost pile the temperature will increase rapidly and soon reach about 70 degrees.
At the end of week 1, the pile should be opened to the air and any compacted material should be loosened.
Then the pile should be reconstructed; material previously on the top and sides of the pile should be moved to the center.
At the end of second week, the pile should be turned again. Each time the material should be turned back to the center of the pile.
At each turning, the moisture content should be checked using the squeeze test. Water should be added if necessary.
Your garden compost will be finished when the pile cools off and decreases to about one-third of its original volume.
It will be dark, crumbly, and have an earthy odor.
For best results you should turn your garden compost into the soil.
Or put a layer of mulch over your garden compost after adding it to the garden.
Your compost contains millions of soil organisms that need to be under the soil & away from the harmful sunlight to survive.
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For additional organic gardening information on working with
in your garden, visit my friends at OrganicGardenInfo.com
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