5 Steps to Amazing Compost

Making your own compost at home takes 5 easy steps.  There are so many benefits to your own compost such as reducing your food, lawn, and farm animal waste using your compost, and enriching your soil to make happy healthy plants.

STEP 1: Proper Containment 

Containing your developing compost can help decrease or increase your composting speed. One method is to pile your waste using the cold compost method and slowly get compost in a year. The other method that takes a little more work is hot composting, but you will have fully developed ready to use compost within 1-3 months. In order to increase our compost speed here at Jewel Of Encanto Farm we use cement block walls with three areas to compost. The heat from the blocks helps and it is more protected from pests being able to dig through the scraps in the compost.

STEP 2: Adding your Waste Materials

When you start your compost pile you will need to alternate your layers with brown and green materials. Brown materials, which add carbon,  are technically dried materials such as dried leaves, straw, newspaper, and cardboard.  Green materials, which add nitrogen, include fresh grass clippings, animal manures, kitchen scraps and coffee grinds. By adding layers with a 3:1 brown to green layer, you can increase your composting speed.

STEP 3: Adding Water

Consistently sprinkling your pile of compost will increase its speed to fully compost. Adding water will help the microorganisms digest the waste and make compost.  Be sure to not add too much water, if the pile is too wet the microorganisms will drown.

STEP 4: Mix Your Compost Pile

About once a week you will need to mix and stir up your compost pile as it decomposes. This mixing helps to add oxygen to the pile. During this step we can help monitor the heat of the pile which will increase the speed of making our compost. Make sure the pile is always warm, you can stick your hand down inside the compost to check.  If you want to be temperature specific you can use a composting thermometer and turn the pile when it becomes ‘hot’ at 130-150 Fahrenheit. Continue to stir and mix for several weeks as the compost continues to decompose.

STEP 5: Use and Enjoy 

From one to three months depending on your strictness of following the steps and local temperatures, your compost will be ready to use!  When the temperature drops on your compost pile and you notice it’s consistency of no bulk pieces of mulch your pile is ready. Every growing season, add a layer of compost to your garden beds.  Reducing your land and animal waste will help enrich your garden and make you the envy of the neighborhood.