August 8, 2011


{Gaia Sophia, painting}

Building a compost heap is easier than you think and very useful around the garden in becoming less wasteful and more self-sufficient... a good way to start a heap is to find a spot not too sunny and not too shady... and see if you can obtain [for the walls of the heap] some (3 or 4) wooden pallets (many store give them away, dispose of them out back of their property) .. you can also use a few pallets to create a vertical herb garden station if you are short of space:

How to Build a Compost Pile

Follow these simple instructions and start composting today.... Here's what you need:
1. Carbon-rich "brown" materials, like fall leaves, straw, dead flowers from your garden and shredded newspaper.
2. Nitrogen-rich "green" materials, like grass clippings, plant-based kitchen waste (vegetable peelings and fruit rinds, but no meat scraps), or barnyard animal manure (even though its color is usually brown, manure is full of nitrogen like the other "green" stuff).
3. A shovelful or two of garden soil.
4. A site that's at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide.

Here's what to do:

•Start by spreading a layer that is several inches thick of coarse, dry brown stuff, like straw or cornstalks or leaves, where you want to build your pile.

•Top that with several inches of green stuff.

•Add a thin layer of soil.

•Add a layer of brown stuff.

•Moisten the three layers.

Continue layering green stuff and brown stuff with a little soil mixed in until the pile is 3 feet high. Try to add stuff in a ratio of three parts brown to one part green. (If it takes awhile before you have enough material to build the pile that high, don't worry. Just keep adding to the pile until it gets to at least 3 feet high.)

Every couple weeks, use a garden fork or shovel to turn the pile, moving the stuff at the center of the pile to the outside and working the stuff on the outside to the center of the pile. Keep the pile moist, but not soggy. When you first turn the pile, you may see steam rising from it. This is a sign that the pile is heating up as a result of the materials in it decomposing. If you turn the pile every couple weeks and keep it moist, you will begin to see earthworms throughout the pile and the center of the pile will turn into black, crumbly, sweet-smelling soil. When you have enough finished compost in the pile to use in your garden, shovel out the finished compost and start your next pile with any material that hadn't fully decomposed in the previous one.

You don't need a compost bin to make compost. You simply need a pile that is at least 3 by 3 by 3 feet. A pile this size will have enough mass to decompose without a bin. Many gardeners buy or build compost bins, however, because they keep the pile neat. Some are designed to make turning the compost easier or protect it from soaking rains.

Turn kitchen scraps into super-fertile soil! Learn more.... and tell your friends and neighbours how its done.

Happy gardening... ~ Enjoy your time with Mother Earth!