Create Hot Compost
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It's easy to cook up your own compost. Layer organic materials–garden clippings, dry leaves, kitchen vegetable scraps, shredded paper–and a dash of soil to create a concoction that turns into humus, the best soil builder around.
Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. Cold composting is as simple as collecting yard waste or taking out the organic materials in your trash (such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells) and then corralling them in a pile or bin. Over the course of a year or so, the material will decompose.Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
Hot composting is for the more serious gardener, and you get compost in one to three months during warm weather. Four ingredients are required for fast-cooking hot compost: nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. Together, these items feed microorganisms, which speed up the process of decay.
Good household materials to compost include fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, shredded newspaper, and sawdust from untreated wood.
Good outdoor materials include dry leaves, finely chopped wood and bark chips, straw, and grass and plant clippings.Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
How to Create and Use Hot Compost
To create your own organic hot compost heap, wait until you have enough materials to make a pile at least 3 feet deep. Then, to ensure an even composition of materials, create alternating 4- to 8-inch-deep layers of green materials (kitchen scraps, fresh leaves, coffee grounds) and brown materials (dried leaves, shredded paper, untreated sawdust).Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
Sprinkle water over the pile regularly so it has the consistency of a damp sponge. Don't add too much water or the microorganisms will become waterlogged and drown. Your pile will rot instead of compost.
Check to see if your pile is composting by monitoring temperature. Check the temperature of the pile with a thermometer or simply reach into the middle of the pile with your hand.Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
Air it Out
During the growing season, provide the pile with oxygen by turning it once a week with a garden fork. The best time to turn compost is when the center of the pile feels warm or the thermometer reads between 130°F and 150°F. Stirring the pile helps it cook faster and prevents material from becoming matted down and developing a bad odor. At this point, the layers have created equal amounts of green and brown materials throughout the pile, so stir thoroughly.Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
When the compost no longer gives off heat and becomes dry, brown, and crumbly, it's ready.Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
Date Published: May 1, 2018Date Updated: May 1, 2018
- Anything containing meat, oil, fat or grease
- Diseased plant materials
- Sawdust or chips from pressure-treated wood
- Dog or cat feces
- Weeds that go to seed
- Dairy products
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