Learning how to make compost – A simple starters guide

If you’re interested in learning how to lower your impact on the environment, you’ve probably been doing research on how to change your lifestyle to reduce your energy usageĀ around your home. One of the easiest ways to get started is by learning how to make your own compost.

Here’s a simple guide so you can learn how to make compost in your backyard:

The first thing you’ll need to decide to do is where you’re going to make your compost pile. The best spot would be in an out of the way corner of your yard that has plenty of shade, such as under a few trees. Be sure that you’ll have enough space, as a typical compost pile is three feet wide by three long. You also may want to opt to use a composting bin (or make your own with a few scraps of wood). Just make sure that whatever type of container you use (or make) that you leave enough room for you to be able to stir the compost every week so that air will be able to circulate through the pile, which will help it decompose evenly.

After deciding where your going to have your compost pile (and what you’ll keep it in) you need to decide what your going to put in it. This is the most important thing regarding making your own compost. The essential elements of every compost pile are browns, greens, and moisture.

  • Browns means mostly brown items such as cardboard (torn into small pieces so it will breakdown faster), small twigs, brown leaves from your yard, straw, newspaper, any kind of paper that hasn’t been chemically treated will do, etc.
  • Greens refers to leftover fruit and vegetable scraps from your kitchen, egg shells, other non fatty kitchen scraps, and grass clippings. You can place other objects in your compost bin as well but DO NOT ever put animal waste or items containing fat from your kitchen (such as leftover steak scraps or anything containing butter) into it. They will not decompose properly and will ruin your compost pile. They will also make your compost smell and a properly built pile of compost doesn’t give off a foul odor.
  • Moisture is simply water. Your compost pile needs to be kept moist which means that if your not receiving much rain into your pile for a few weeks, you will need to add water to it. Just don’t add too much water because you want your pile to be moist, not soaking wet. Too much water will ruin it as well.

After you start accumulating and putting these items in your bin, all you need to do is check on it once a week or so and “stir” it with a shovel or stick so that air can reach the bottom of the compost pile. It doesn’t take very long to maintain a compost bin and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make your own instead of buying it at a local home improvement store (which will reduce your energy usage since you won’t be using gas to travel to buy it). In as little as eight weeks you can have compost ready to be used around your flower beds and gardens in your home.