How To Start A Compost Pile

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If you're like most avid gardeners, you want to provide as many nutrients to your landscape and garden as possible. One way to do this naturally is to create your own compost pile. It's not as difficult as what you might think and you don't need special containers to do so, although you can use one if you like. This guide explains how to get a compost pile started.

Step 1: Pick Your Area

Walk around your lawn to find a good spot that's about 3-feet wide by 3-feet long. It can be larger than that, but to have a good work area it shouldn't be smaller. Hint: If you have pets and children, erect a wire fence around the area to prevent disruption of the compost pile.

Step 2:  Lay Down the Brown Materials

Gather some brown materials from around your home. These include items such as:

Place a layer of one or more of these items to start the pile.

Step 3: Add a Layer of Green Items

Start a layer of green materials on top of the brown item layer. Items considered green include:

Note: Meat scraps and domestic animal manure aren't considered green material and shouldn't be used in a compost pile. Meat scraps, as well as cat and dog manure, can grow bacteria that bring disease to plants and to humans.

Step 3: Cover the Pile

Place a layer of soil over the top of the two layers. Then add a little more brown material. Straw works best on this layer to help keep everything in place.

Step 4: Moisten the Pile

Mist the pile with a garden hose until the layers are saturated, but not too soggy.

Step 5: Add More Layers

Continue adding layers of brown materials, green materials and soil until the pile reaches the desired height. Remember to keep the soil layers thinner than the brown and green layers.

Step 6: Turn the Pile

Turn the pile over with a shovel every two weeks, making sure that the inside of the pile is moved to the outside. Water the pile during this time as well. Again, make sure that the pile is wet but not soggy with water running out of it.

When your compost pile is completely mixed and you've spent a couple months turning and watering, fertilize your garden and lawn with it by spreading it out with a shovel. Ask your landscape professional, like those at Superior Lawn and Landscape, about specific areas where composting is a great fertilizing alternative.