Composting Basics 101


Composting Basics, The Motherlode Of Organic Fertilizer

Composting BasicsIn a previous post, we discussed how using organic fertilizer will help your garden yield better results. Today we will talk about the mother lode of organic fertilizers: compost. Compost is simply organic material that has been broken down so that it is no longer recognizable as anything specific. Compost not only adds precious nutrients to the soil but it also corrects the overall texture and composition of the soil. Here are some composting basics that will help you create a nutrient-rich pile that your plants will love.

Find a good spot in your garden for a compost pile. It can be something as simple and basic as making a pile of material on the ground to something that is much more elaborate. There are compost bins that spin so the material is easily mixed. My compost bin is made from pallets and it has worked well for me for many years.

The first thing to remember is that composting happens all the time in nature without the help of human intervention. Decomposition is the nature of life. But we can speed the decomposition process if we provide it the optimal conditions. These four elements are needed: air, water, carbon, nitrogen. If these elements are in the proper proportions, the decomposition happens quickly.

It is important for air to be able to move freely throughout the pile. By periodically mixing your pile, you introduce air into the material.

The compost pile should be wet enough to feel like a wrung-out sponge, if it is too dry, the decomposition works slowly, if it is too wet, then it might start smelling bad.

Carbon is needed as an energy source for the microbes that break down organic matter. Items that are high in carbon are usually dry and brown. Such materials include: dry leaves, straw and corn stalks.

Nitrogen is found in green moist plant material or manure. It is important to maintain the right proportions of nitrogen and carbon materials. Adding two parts brown material to one part green is the right ratio. Too much nitrogen will cause the compost to give off a strong smell while too much carbon based material will slow down the decomposition process.

If you tend to your composting pile regularly, you will have rich, loamy compost in no time. Your plants will thank you for it.

What have you used to make compost? What has worked well or hasn’t worked well for you?

For more information about composting basics, click here:,1&cm_mmc=pinterest-_-OrganicGardening-_-Content-LearnGrow-_-composting101

For instructions how to build a compost bin from pallets like mine, click here:

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