If you’ve got a garden, flowers, plants, or any kind of greenery, buying bags and bags of topsoil can be an expensive task. Lucky for you, just about everything you need to make nutrient-dense topsoil is sitting around your house, filling up your trash can, and smelling up your garbage disposal. Here is some advice for making cheap and easy homemade compost. By following these instructions, you’ll have nutrient-dense compost soil in just 4-8 short weeks, and your guests will wonder where you got your green thumb!
The Outdoor Compost Heap
The first step is to set aside an area of your property for a compost bin. It’s about as easy as it sounds. Just block off about 9 square feet of your property, and enclose it with either sturdy chicken wire or some sort of fencing to block animals and the wind. This compost is going to be very attractive to deer and squirrels at certain stages. Some people feel comfortable leaving it loose at the edge of their property, so if animals aren’t much of an issue in your area, this is a possibility. Just be aware that there are times when it will get really smelly.
A lot of people prefer to keep their compost in completely covered bins, and you can easily create this as well. The fastest way is to use a garbage bin, preferably a plastic one. Simply poke several holes in the garbage can, about 5 inches apart. A hammer and nail will get the job done. This helps to aerate the compost throughout its creation. The only problem with a garbage can is that it can be difficult to mix thoroughly. Be sure to get one with a lid that latches on so you can roll it around to mix the ingredients together.
The Yard Scraps
The next step is to gather grass clippings, leaves, mulch, and other forest or yard waste, including some small twigs. You don’t need a lot of it, just enough to create a base and a little volume. The twigs will help add ventilation, as oxygen is a vital part of the compost creation process. Throw all of the yard scarps into the outdoor compost pile.
After you’ve got those items in place, it’s time to start collecting your compostable items. You’ll be surprised to learn what you can recycle into nutritious soil!
The Kitchen Scraps
Table scraps are unbelievably nutritious, and when given time, make for the very best topsoil. Preferably, you want uncooked items, such as potato skins, ends of carrots, apple cores, banana peels, onion peels, and other vegetable waste. The easiest way to collect these items is to get a small indoor compost bin and keep it under the sink or on top of the counter.
When you’re done peeling vegetables, simple transfer them to the compost bin. You can purchase a variety of fancy compost bins at home good stores, but today’s old coffee containers world just as well. You can add a wide array of items to this bin, including your used coffee grounds, coffee filters, recyclable cardboard egg cartons, dryer lint, and eggshells! You know those recyclable bamboo products and paper towels? Throw them in the bin! Use this handy table below to help.
Once you’ve got a bin full of table scraps, take it to the outdoor compost heap and throw it on top, mixing it just a little with the yard scraps. By the time you dump the compost bin, the breakdown process has probably already begun. Depending on your meals that week, this mixture might really smell, but normally, the smellier the better!
That’s the gist of it! There are several tips below to help your homemade compost flourish as much as possible.
- About once a week, stir up all of the ingredients in your compost heap, and try to bury all of the new food scraps to help them break down faster. Air is crucial for the chemical reaction to take place, so help your compost thrive by mixing it regularly.
- Shoot for a 4:1 ratio of brown (carbon) to green (nitrogen). Four parts yard scraps to one part kitchen scraps.
- When preparing to use the compost, never grab the stuff on top. The soil on the bottom is generally pretty well decomposed and blended, making for perfect integration into your garden, so dig deep when you’re harvesting your compost!