Build A Compost Pile

How to build a compost pile that once applied to the vegetable garden will bring your soil back to life.

  • Compost is one of nature's best mulches and soil conditioners

  • the organic matter that is in compost provides heaps of micro-organisms that will feed the micro-organisms present in the soil keeping the soil in a balanced healthy state.

  • Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus will be produced naturally by the feeding of micro-organisms in the compost.

  • Compost improves soil structure and texture

  • Compost improves soil aeration and improves the soils water holding capacity.

  • Compost loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils to retain moisture, plus improving soil fertility, stimulating root development in plants.

Compost is very cheap to make, using materials from around the garden like all old plants, grass clippings, manures, weeds, soft clippings, mulches, legumes and a little fertilizer.

How to build a compost pile

Simple Compost Recipe

  • 25% high-nitrogen, raw material and green legumes. Nitrogen enables the micro-organisms to break down high carbon materials like paper and cardboard.

  • 35% green plants with lower nitrogen levels, soft clippings, lawn clippings, comfrey, borage, tansy, valerian, nettle and chamomile.

  • 35% high carbon material such as straw, woody mulch, paper, cardboard and leaves.

  • 5% grit material such as rock dust, wood ash, blood and bone and old compost from last batch.

  • When building a compost pile (or compost heap), start by putting down some woody material to help with aeration on the bottom.

  • Then add a layer of high nitrogen material, water all materials thoroughly.

  • Then add a layer of high carbon followed by a sprinkle of rock dust, then a layer of green plants then high carbon followed by high nitrogen.

  • Every second to third layer add some grit material to the pile in the form of rock dust or blood and bone or old compost.

  • Keep repeating the process until reaching 1 meter high.

  • Once completed it will heat up to 55 degrees in the centre, which will kill out any weed seeds or pathogens. Turn the pile every week for the first month, and then every 2 weeks in the second month, the pile should be ready in 10-12 weeks. When turning the pile for the first time turn the outside of the pile into the centre so it will go through the heating up process (killing out seeds/pathogens).

  • Sometimes compost can become too wet, reducing aeration in the compost pile. Water content of the pile needs to be damp but not soaked. You will need to wet each layer in the compost pile to ensure consistency throughout the whole pile.

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Want to know more about different types of composting then you can also check out worm composting