Composting Tips and Tricks for Beginners

By its very nature, compost is extremely dynamic. Constantly transforming, mixing, flourishing and decomposing each of the components to produce exceptional enrichment for the soils of your gardens, fields, shrubs and trees plus much more. While there is no real secret to keeping a compost pile active, dynamic and flourishing, there are several tips and tricks you might find very useful in helping to make sure the compost pile is performing at its absolute best.

Choose the Best Compost Bin

Compost will thrive best when placed in contact with the ground. The reason being is that the ground makes it possible for earthworms along with other insects to burrow up into the compost pile and help to decompose the materials there. A simple compost bin created from wood pallets is a wonderful low cost option.

On the other hand, many folks choose to purchase and use commercial composting bins. Several of these have special features that include easy turning, loading and unloading. Bear in mind though that not every bin will produce the exact same results, so if you end up continually trying to boost the activity of your compost pile you might want to think about using another type of composting bin.

Aim for Balance with your Compost Ingredients

While there is no need to meticulously measure what you are placing into the compost pile, keep in mind that you must have a good mix of both brown and green materials. Moreover, much of your brown materials need to be coarse to ensure sufficient airflow through the entire pile.

Try to avoid adding too much of any one ingredient to the compost pile though, since this could result in your compost stagnating rather than progressing. For dynamic and active composting results, variety is definitely best and this should be easy to do due to the large range of things just around your house that can be added to the pile.

Keep your Compost Moist

Compost has to be kept damp or moist but not completely soaked. Dependent on where you live and the types of materials you are adding to your compost heap, you might never have to add additional water to the pile. On the other hand, if you notice that it is becoming a little dry, go ahead and sprinkle it a little to make sure it is moist. Should you inadvertently add too much water, you can take some of the run off, known as compost tea, and then use it to water your plants.

Composting Tips and Tricks for Beginners - Image Credit - LA County DPW Smart Gardening

Give your Compost Pile Plenty of Air

The essential ingredient to creating compost is bacteria, which helps to break down all of the organic content into the rich compost you desire. In order for the bacteria to thrive and survive, it requires air, which is the reason you need to ensure that there is sufficient air circulation throughout your compost pile. You can make certain there is ample air by turning the pile frequently. Alternatively, you can just mix in a good amount of coarse material like hay and straw, which will create air pockets all through the pile.

Monitor Compost Pile Heat

An active and dynamic compost pile produces heat as a result of all the activity. Some folk’s even claim that there are ideal temperatures your compost pile should reach. To that end, you can monitor the actual temperature of your compost pile as it develops by keeping a thermometer handy and checking it each day.

Urine as a Compost Activator

If you notice that the compost heap is not particularly active in the beginning, you can really ramp up the process with the help of a little human urine. This is among the best natural compost activators known.

Page Updated: March 16, 2017
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