Sunday, November 11, 2012

Go Green By Composting - Building A Compost Pile

Composting is a process that a lot of people are turning to for a few different reasons. Composting not only cuts down on the amount of trash that you need to pay to have removed, but it also builds up a store of black organic humus that you can use to fertilize your garden. This, in turn, saves you money because it eliminates the need to buy compost or humus at the feed or garden store, which can get pretty expensive.
Composting might take you a little bit of time at effort at first, and there may be times that you have to remember to do it. Most of us are so used to throwing our organic scraps into the garbage that it can be difficult to remember to separate them for composting. However, this is also something that you will get used to. After a while, you will instinctively remember to separate your organic scraps from your trash without even having to think about it.

How To Get Started

The first step to successful composting is to decide where you are going to put your compost pile. Some people decide to put their compost into a bin, though this is not really a necessity unless you just want to or have to follow local regulations that require you to do so. The truth is that you can successfully produce compost whether you use a bin or not.
Begin by choosing an area that is either completely in the sun or partially shaded, but do not build your pile against a tree or a building. This will cause the wood to rot. Make your pile about three foot by three foot, which is just big enough to keep it aerated enough, but will still allow it to produce sufficient heat for the organic matter inside to break down.

What To Put In Your Compost Pile

As a general rule, you want anything organic that will break down to be put into your composting pile. Some examples include…
  • Grass clippings
  • Prunings
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Leaves
  • Bark Straw
  • Sawdust
  • Bread
  • Egg shells
  • Citrus rinds
  • Some types of manure (chicken, rabbit, horse, etc.)
These are all great ingredients for a healthy compost pile. However, you also need to keep in mind that there are some things that should not go into the pile. Some of these include…
  • Bones
  • Dog or cat feces
  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Wood ashes
  • Fat
  • Meat
  • Diseased plants
  • Dairy products
A lot of people think that going green takes some kind of serious technology, like a portable solar generator or a wind turbine. While these are awesome ways to go green, it should be noted that composting does a lot of good for the planet, but is also something that anyone can do!
People do not realize how much less trash there is to dispose of when you compost. This means less trash in landfills, which means less trash bags being buried in the ground. Composting is a natural, healthy way to dispose of organic materials that would otherwise be left in a plastic garbage bag in some landfill that was charging you to throw it away.

How Long Does It Take

It can take anywhere from less than eight weeks to almost two years for your pile to yield humus, depending upon how often you check your pile, maintain it, and add to it. Keeping an assortment of green materials (grass, vegetables, etc.) and brown materials (leaves, sawdust, etc.) will help to keep the pile decomposing at a steady rate, whereas it will slow down considerably if you only add one type of material to it.
Some people actually check the temperature of the inside of the pile to make sure that it is not getting too hot or too cold. If the temperature is above 110 degrees, then you can be pretty sure that your organic waste is decomposing at a healthy rate. If the temperature exceeds 150 degrees, you might want to turn the pile and help the temperature to drop, as this can kill the composting microbes that help the decomposition process along.
Once your composting pile has yielded rich, black soil… feel free to utilize it however you see fit. Spread it on your gardens to make them healthier and better able to produce high quality growth. And don’t forget to keep adding to your pile as organic waste becomes available.

Josh Sigafus is a freelance content writer who has a passion for ‘green living’ and renewable energy. He often utilizes resources like when he is researching new and inventive ways to reduce the carbon footprint and lower energy costs. Josh lives in a rural community in the Midwestern United States, and enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters when he is not busy working.



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