Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Your Compost Lesson

So I discovered this book on my latest trip to B&N....
It is my new gardening bible.  I love to garden and grow beautiful things but sometimes it can get a little pricey. This book tells you all the secrets of gardening on the cheap. I highly recommend it.

From my studies in Dirt Cheap Green Thumb, I came across composting. I loved the idea right away. Composting is the best fertilizer for your garden, and its all from goodies you would have just thrown away. Below is a little explanation on how composting works.

I know those scientific terms can be a little scary but it's really not as complicated as it seems. Pretty much all you need is a pile of dirt, a small container(described below), dried leaves, grass clippings and leftover biodegradable kitchen items; such as egg shells, coffee grounds, grapefruit rinds, or any fruit and vegetable leftovers.
Here is my step by step process in making your own compost:
(your garden will thank you)

Step 1- You don't need a fancy bin
To have a "proper" compost it should be about 3ft x 3ft. The gardening bible says to use chicken wire so I obeyed. I used two 48in x 5ft of wide hardware cloth (chicken wire). The benefit of using this material is that it's freestanding and that it won't leak any small pieces from the pile. It also allows air to easily penetrate the pile, which is a vital part of the composting process.

First, I laid them out on the grass with some bricks on top because they were pretty tightly wound...

After they relaxed I connected them by bending the loose wires on one edge and attaching it to the other. Then I secured it with zip ties.

Mocha ;)

Here is the finished product..

Step 2- Pick a Home
Where will your compost call home? It's recommended that your compost is located where you will see it and not forget about it, also near your garden is ideal so you don't have to lug it to far when you want to incorporate it into your garden. This is my compost's home, he loves it. He has a great view of the mountains :) 
Step 3- Fill her up
After you have chosen a home for your compost it's time to start filling it up! I started with a layer of dried leaves from last fall. Then I did a layer of dirt, followed by all my saved kitchen goodies.

Then I put down a layer of compost maker.
I don't really know all that much about this product, but I will let you know if I end up liking it or not. It's worth a shot :)

I read that you should keep repeating this process until the pile is full, but I didn't have enough to fill it all up in the beginning. My compost will be a work in progress.

Step 4- Water and Turn
After you have your compost in order, give it a little sprinkling. You don't need to soak it, just kind of lightly sprinkle it. So in about a week, after it has started cooking, you'll want to turn your pile to get it good and mixed. Repeat this watering and turning process weekly, along with always adding to your pile and soon enough you will have this:

Isn't it gorgeous? It is so full of nutrients that will make your garden very happy. It is so cool that it uses all of the things you would have just thrown away! I can't wait until my compost gives me some of this goodness. Do any of you compost? If so I would love to hear how you like or dislike it.


  1. Great tute girlie! I wish I could start one... but while renting it just wouldn't be worth it! I can't wait to see how it works out for your garden! Good luck :)

  2. You go girl! I'm so envious. This is one of those projects I keep saying I'll get to and I never have. By the way, keep up the Mocha cameos, please. :)