How to Make Compost

Creating your own compost isn’t difficult to do. You likely already have all the tools and ingredients you need to start composting in your own yard. You can use the compost to improve garden soil for planting. It’s the best way to make the richest garden soil and the healthiest plants.

compost material in hands

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How to Make Compost

Using your own compost to make your own soil is an amazing experience. What you get when you’re done is rich, black soil that smells fresh and new. It’s nature at its finest, breaking down the materials into the basic building blocks of life.

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Gather Carbon-Rich Materials

Shredded newspapers, fall leaves, straw, dead flowers, and other brown matter from your yard will work great as brown materials.

Spread carbon-rich materials around at least a 3-foot by 3-foot area, making it at least a few inches thick in a sunny location of your yard. You can use pellets to create a space for cheap, many places around here give them away as a way to get rid of them.

Add Nitrogen-Rich Materials

Now take green materials like grass, plant-based kitchen waste, and barnyard animal manure from non-carnivore animals.

Chicken manure works great and yes, it’s not “green” in color but it has lots of green stuff in it. Layer this mixture on top of the brown materials a couple more inches thick. The ratio to remember is three times as much brown material as green material.

chicken compost

Add Garden Soil

On top of the green and brown materials, add a thin layer of garden soil. Use a soil mix that is organic, free of fuel-based ingredients, and peat moss.

If you already have prepared soil from your garden, it will work better to add some of that into your compost mixture rather than packaged soil that could have ingredients in it that you don’t want to use.

Prepare Area

You'll want to make another layer with brown materials. Moisten the layers, then add several more layers throughout the summer. You’re looking for a ratio of three parts brown materials to one part green materials.

It doesn’t matter how many layers you put, just keep in mind this ratio as you make your layers. We do this all summer long using kitchen and chicken/quail waste.

Have Patience

Turn the soil with a fork or shovel every couple of weeks. You want to move the materials from the inside to the outside of the pile. Otherwise, you just have a pile of dirt and food waste rotting.

Keep the pile moist but avoid allowing it to get soggy. If you need to tent it or cover the pile to avoid rain washing it away, this is a good idea. You can also put all the ingredients into a compost bin to protect it if you prefer.

This will make the best soil for you to grow healthy plants. Remember, if you are using chicken manure in your compost you'll want to wait a year or so before using this compost on plants. Chicken manure is a hot compost and will burn your plants.

Last autumn we spread our compost pile over our garden before the fall. It will provide our garden with a great boost this spring/summer.

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