Starting Compost

Compost | What to Compost | Composting Tips

Starting Your Own Compost

The first thing that should be done is figure out where to start it, and if you need to put it in a compost bin. If you live on a nice patch of land, you can simply make a compost pile in a back corner somewhere. You don’t really need a compost bin to make compost. However, if you live on a smaller patch of land or in the city, you might want to get a compost bin to keep things looking tidy.

Types of compost bins

There are two types of compost bins, stationary and rotating/tumbler. Both types must have their contents turned periodically to provide oxygen and combine the decaying materials.

Stationary Composter

Stationary bins can be as simple as a well-ventilated cage made from wire fencing, plastic or wooden crates assembled together to make a box. A well-designed bin will retain heat and moisture, which allows quicker results.

Double Composter

Compost tumblers is a compost bin designed to be rotated easily to help speed up the decomposition process by frequent oxygen infusions and heat retention. Most are supported off the ground by a frame, so they can be situated anywhere in the yard.

When using either method, you must find a sunny spot to put it in, so that it has as much heat as possible. Having it in the shade all day will make decomposition much slower, especially when freezing temperatures start to arrive in the fall.

Kitchen ComposterNext you need to start collecting waste from inside and outside of the house, to put on your pile or in your bin. For kitchen wastes, your should keep a container with a lid and a handle somewhere with easy access. Consider using a stainless steel compost pail with air filter; like the picture to the left shows. If you don't mind occasional smells, you can use an old ice-cream pail or something similar. Make sure to chop up any large chunks before you toss them in. When the container is full or once or twice a week, take it out to your composter and toss in the contents. Keep your waste container clean between loads, and you will have a clean-smelling, efficient composting operation set up in your household.

Once you have everything on your pile or in your bin it's recommended to add a compost activator. What that does is contribute either high nitrogen, microorganisms, or both, and provides a quick boost to the decomposition process. Algae, seaweed Ringeror lake weed are a great compost activator that you can use. Just be sure to rinse off any salt water before adding. You can also use alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal or a compost starter, such as Ringer Compose Plus. Ringer Compost Plus contains a proprietary blend of thermophilic microorganisms as well as a nutrient energy source to quickly break down lawn clippings, brown leaves, wood chips, pine needles and more. Also, you may want to add ashes from a wood-burning stove if you’ve added a lot of acidic materials such as pine needles and oak leaves. Wood ashes are alkaline and can help adjust the pH of your compost pile if it gets too acidic.

All that is left to do is wait. Be sure to keep on adding to the top  and in a few months, at the bottom, you will have rich, dark, fertile compost to spread around.

Once you have a good amount of compost, you can spread it lightly on your lawn to make it greener, put it in your vegetable gardens to make it grow bigger, healthier, and stronger vegetables,put it on your flower beds to make your flowers more luscious and pest-resistant, or sprinkle it around your houseplants or container plant. You could even package it nicely and give it to friends and neighbors.