Materials Needed to Start
Now that you have decided that you
want to compost, there is a list of items that you will need to get started. Most of these items are
available in your own yard and require a small amount of planning ahead
After you pick a location for your
compost bin or pile (ensure it is in an easily accessible location) you
are going to need approximately four inches of leaves as a base. If you are able to chip the leaves prior it will make things progress and breakdown faster but it
is not a requirement. The quantity of leaves you will need to make
a four-inch base will vary depending on the size of the bin you have
Your next layer should be about one
inch of high-quality soil. If you cannot find this in your own
garden a small bag purchased from your local nursery will work fine.
Then start layering the food for the
microbes to eat. There are two categories of food you are going to
need brown (yard waste) and green (food scraps or other organic waste). A common ratio is two parts brown for every part of green.
You are going to need a spade or
heavy-duty pitch fork to turn or rotate the compost at least once per
week. If there is a dry-spell you will need a means of adding water (a hose) to keep the pile moist.
With such simple materials and
start-up instructions, anyone can start their own compost pile in under a
day. If you choose to not use a bin, consider buying some wire mesh to contain the pile, it can be wrapped around the base of the pile in a circular shape.
The compost can be ready anywhere from two months up to one
The Best Place for your Composting
The most common
location for a compost pile or bin is in close proximity to your kitchen or garden. You want it in a convenient location to make it easy and second nature
to bring your food scraps or garden waste to the composter. If you
have a large yard, the yard waste can get quite heavy and you don’t want
to be transporting the heavy material be a deterrent to
There are other
considerations that need to be taken into account when choosing a composting site. Keeping all the below suggestions in mind, you also want to make
sure that it is in an area that children or animals will not disturb or
get into the compost bin.
The ground should be
level and not prone to collecting excessive water (it needs good drainage). Your compost pile needs to stay moist but you do not want too much water
or it will not work properly. In addition to level ground, make
sure you can easily access the area with a
A shady location is
best, if the compost pile gets too much sunlight it will get hot and dry out. Again, the pile needs to stay moist and overheating it with external sources
will not help.
A water source should
be close by – you can reach the area with your garden hose or easily
carry enough water to moisten the pile if it becomes too dry. Remember you just want to moisten the pile with a spray of water not drench
If you are beginning
with a one bin system, you may want to leave enough room for a second
bin down the road. By having two bins side-by-side, you can easily rotate or turn the pile by moving material from one bin to the next.