Organic lawn care, fertilization, and maintenance wouldn’t be complete without compost. Many people are reluctant in having a compost pile on their property and getting truly engaged in the process due to the uncomfortable compost smell. However, if you pick an isolated space for your compost pile and make sure you follow all the steps necessary, you will have a rich, fresh, and natural fertilizer to feed your lawn and garden with an entire season. Today, our lawn care Coaldale AB specialists are here to offer you a quick compost making guide.
1. First Come the Browns
Many people have the wrong belief that compost is just a pile of rotting food scraps and maybe some grass clippings. In fact, compost is based on three main elements and the first one you need are browns – organic debris rich in carbon. You can add dry leaves, dry twigs, coffee grounds, wood chips and ash, cardboard, used paper (NOT glossy), dry fruit peels, dry fruit, and so on. Carbon plays at least two essential roles in the compost pile: it boosts the activity of bacteria, fungi, rotifers, and worms to turn the organic materials into the nutritious mush we call compost; it allows the air to flow in the compost pile also absorbing the excess moisture.
2. Next Come the Green
This is the compost part most people are familiar with. The green materials contain the second essential ingredient of nutritious compost: nitrogen. The greens are represented by freshly mowed grass clippings, fresh fruit peels, food leftovers, manure, and seaweed, boiled tea bags, and so on.
- The first big secret of compost is that you just can’t throw in there everything that crosses your mind or is left behind after dinner. You should never add to the compost pile meat/fish leftovers, dairy products, cooking oil, coal, pet food, weeds, dead/diseased plants, rotten or diseased vegetables and flowers,
- The second big secret of compost is that your compost pile should contain 25 more brown materials than green material.
3. Let the Oxygen do Its Job
This is the step where most compost piles fail and turn into smelly, useless heaps of rotten garbage. People don’t stir and aerate the compost. Oxygen is vital to compost: if there is too little, the bacteria and rotifers turning the material into fertilizer will die. If you aerate the compost pile too often, it will dry – becoming useless. There is a trial-and-error stage here until you learn how and how often you need to aerate your compost pile with a pitchfork or shovel.
4. Water is Life
Dry compost is ineffective, so you need to keep it moist. Don’t overdo it, however, as drenched compost is equally useless. Our lawn care Coaldale AB specialists recommend you keep a 40-60% water level of the compost at all times for best results. If the compost is too wet, add some green materials, as the carbon there will restore the balance.
According to our lawn care Coaldale AB specialists, making compost is a bit of an art-meets-science problem. If you want to learn more about this practice, ask them for advice!