If you’ve never had a compost pile, this is the year to start! A good compost pile is extremely valuable to your garden. Think about it. What is the end product of a compost pile? A rich soil that is extremely high in humus and plant nutrients. Adding this rich soil to your cold frames, lawns, flower bed and gardens improves your soil and your overall plant production.
First step in starting a compost pile is finding a place for it. Find a place that is partially shaded and if possible, within reasonable distance from your garden. If you make a compost pile that is not in a convenient location you won’t use it. We used parts of old pallets to make walls for our compost pile and placed it in the corner of our backyard, in a partially shaded area. Its location is far enough away that it’s not noticeable to our visitors but close enough to allow us to easily move to our garden.
Almost any type of organic material may be used such as glass clippings, hay or straw, animal manures, kitchen waste and dry leaves. As you add to it over the course of time, make sure you use a pitchfork to turn your pile every week or two. You want to blend the different organic materials together. It is also important that your compost pile stays moist.
The time it takes to convert the raw organic materials that you add to your compost pile into nutrient-rich humus depends on a multiplicity of variables including climate conditions, type of materials being used, moisture level, and whether or not an activator is being used. In a few months you should have a rich, dark soil that your plants will love.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, it’s not rocket science. The important part is that you start your compost pile and diligently add to it. It doesn’t need to consume all your time. In fact, it takes very little time to maintain and the overall benefits are definitely worth it!