Creating Organic Compost
Organic compost is a result of decomposition of green materials that provide nitrogen and brown materials that provide carbon. The carbon and nitrogen are added to soil where you are growing plants to provide nutrients that plants need to survive. It is important to understand that compost is not fertilizer, while it can help grow healthy plants when added to the soil before a growing season, it does not really help when added around plants that are already established. Rather some organic fertilizers would be more appropriate at that time. We listed some of most positively reviewed on Amazon.
You will a ratio of one part Nitrogen to three parts Carbon.
Nitrogen (one part) components consist of one of the list below or a combination of two or more:
- Horse manure, rabbit, pig, goat and chicken manure
- Fish meal
- Blood meal
- Cottonseed meal
- Legumes such as alfalfa and pea clover
- Green garden waste like weeds
- Algae and sea weed
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Lake moss
- Kitchen vegetable scraps
- Grass clippings without chemical fertilizers f
Carbon (three parts) components consist of one of the list below or a combination of two or more:
- Dried leaves
- Sawdust in small amounts, (as long as it hasn’t been treated with chemicals)
- Untreated wood chips in small amounts
- Shredded newspaper (no news print(slick paper))
- Dryer lint
- Corn stalks and corn cob
- Shredded brown paper grocery bags
- Pine needles and pine cones
- Oak leaves
- Egg shells
Water – You will need just enough water for the pile to be moist, not wet.
Do NOT add the following to a compost pile:
- Ashes from coal or charcoal
- cat litter or droppings
- dog waste
- fish scraps,
- ashes from untreated wood
- sawdust and wood shavings from chemically treated wood
Before you start your compost pile, put a pile of twigs and sticks at the bottom so your pile will circulate air and breathe. Next, layer the Carbon and Nitrogen ingredients on top of the twigs. Alternate carbon and nitrogen materials every few inches, so that the materials mix easily.
Next add water. Add just enough so that the ingredients feel like a damp sponge that has been wrung out. Test for dampness by pick up a handful of the ingredients and squeezing. You are looking to have a few drops of water come out. If more than a few drops of water comes out, your pile is too wet. Fix this by mixing in more dry ingredients and let the pile dry out. To dry the pile quickly, while keeping it oxygenated, turn it often using a shovel or a pitch fork, about once every day or two.
Monitoring your Organic Compost
Your compost should heat to a temperature between 104°-160°, even in cold northern climates. Stir the pile about every four to seven days. Mix thoroughly. Stirring will move the cold ingredients into the warm center of the pile. Stirring replenishes foods and oxygen for the microorganisms that are hard at work breaking down the ingredients. Heat helps the ingredients quickly decompose and keeps the pile operating at its peak. Moreover, at 131° most disease causing pathogens die as well as pests, seeds and weeds.
Your Organic Compost is done
Your compost is ready to use when it smells earthy, contains small uniform particles and the color resembles dark brown soil and is light and fluffy.