How To Make Your Own Garden Compost for Sustainability with Victoria Gerrard

food waste in a compost bin
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Creating your own garden compost is a great way to reduce the waste that goes into landfills while providing nutrients for your garden. Composting is an easy, cost-effective way to produce rich soil for growing and nurturing plants.

In this article, green expert Victoria Gerrard La Crosse, WI, shares some tips on how to make your compost for a more sustainable garden.

What are the Benefits of Composting at Home?

Composting at home is one of the most valuable and earth-friendly things a person can do. Not only does it reduce food waste and cut down on landfill use, but it also helps to improve soil quality and replenish nutrients in the ground.

Creating garden compost naturally facilitates the breakdown of organic materials like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and expired food into nutrient-rich humus.

a compost bin in the garden

You can use this as a soil conditioner or fertilizer for gardens or lawns. It can even provide natural pest control by providing an ideal habitat for “good” microorganisms that deter pests from settling in crops. Composting benefits plants and our environment, too.

When done correctly, it generates zero emissions and far fewer greenhouse gases than traditional agricultural processes. By composting at home, we play an active role in caring for our planet!

How to Make Your Own Garden Compost

Garden compost is a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be made from organic waste such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and dead leaves.

It’s an environmentally friendly way to dispose of waste while also providing valuable nutrients to your garden soil. Making compost may seem daunting, but it’s actually a simple process that anyone can do.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

a small composting tin in the kitchen

The first step in composting is gathering all the needed materials, such as organic matter like leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and shredded paper. You’ll need something to contain the organic matter, such as a plastic bin or container with holes drilled in it for aeration.

You’ll also need a shovel or pitchfork to turn the compost regularly. Finally, you’ll need water and an activator like nitrogen-rich manure or alfalfa meal to start the process.

Step 2: Find A Spot

Once you’ve gathered your materials, you need to find a spot in your yard to set up your compost pile.

When it comes to making garden compost, location is everything. The right spot can make all the difference in the success of your composting efforts.

Here are some tips for finding a good spot for your garden compost:

  1. Choose a level spot: Your compost bin or pile should be placed on a level surface to prevent it from tipping over or becoming unstable. This also helps with proper drainage and aeration.
  2. Pick a shady area: Composting materials can dry out quickly in direct sunlight, which can slow down the decomposition process. Choosing a shady spot can help maintain the right level of moisture for your compost.
  3. Avoid high-traffic areas: Your compost should be easily accessible, but it’s best to avoid placing it in a high-traffic area. This will help minimize odors and pests and keep your composting efforts out of sight.
  4. Consider proximity to water: You’ll need to water your compost occasionally, so it’s a good idea to place it near a water source.
  5. Think about odor: While properly managed compost shouldn’t produce strong odours, it’s still a good idea to place your compost away from areas where the smell might be bothersome, such as near open windows or outdoor seating areas.

Step 3: Layer It Up

several barrels in a garden for composting

Once you’ve found your spot, it’s time to lay them up in layers. Start with a layer of brown material like shredded leaves at the bottom of your bin or container. This will help absorb moisture and provide aeration for the compost pile.

On top of this layer, add green material like fresh grass clippings and kitchen scraps, making sure each layer is about four inches thick before adding another one on top of it.

Keep alternating between brown and green materials until you reach the top of your bin or container. Ensure each layer is damp but not wet so air can pass through it quickly.

Step 4: Activate It

Once you have all your layers set up, activating them with an activator like nitrogen-rich manure or alfalfa meal will jumpstart the decomposition process.

Sprinkle some of this over your layers, then give it all a good mix using a shovel or pitchfork before covering it up with a tarp or lid. This will make sure animals don’t get into it during the night when they’re scavenging for food sources in your garden area. 

Step 5: Turn It Frequently

a spade turning compost

Every couple of weeks, give your compost pile a good turning using either a shovel or pitchfork so that oxygen can reach every part of it and help speed up the decomposition process even further.

Turning your compost frequently is essential for promoting aeration and speeding up the decomposition process. However, it’s equally crucial to ensure that your compost doesn’t become a breeding ground for pests.

For residents facing such challenges in Lehigh Acres, Turner Pest Control in Lehigh Acres, FL offers tailored solutions to keep unwanted critters at bay. Their expertise ensures that your compost remains a nutrient-rich mix without attracting any unwelcome visitors.

Step 6: Monitor Moisture Levels

Monitoring moisture levels is also essential for successful composting. Too much water will slow down decomposition, while too little could lead to unpleasant odors due to dryness and lack of oxygenation in some regions of the pile.

If necessary, add more moisture until there’s enough for decomposition processes to continue without any issues arising from extreme dryness or excessive wetness in some regions of the pile due to uneven distribution during stirring and turning activities. 

Step 7: Wait For It To Decompose

Once everything has been turned and watered, all you have left to do now is sit back and wait while Mother Nature does her thing. Depending on how often you turn and water, your compost should be ready anywhere from two to six months.

When ready, use it as needed in your garden beds or as nutrient-rich potting soil for seedlings. And voila! You have now made yourself some lovely homemade compost! 

Final Thoughts

Expert Victoria Gerrard – La Crosse, WI, understands that making homemade compost is easy for anyone with minimal effort and supplies from home items.

The result is nutrient-rich soil perfect for any garden. So give it a go and start creating more sustainable compost for gardens today!

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