There is absolutely no reason to spend large amounts of money on buying compost from the local big box stores, nurseries or trying to make your own. It’s simple if you know how to compost using free local resources.
The idea of compost is simple. It is completely possible to make nutrient dense compost at your home for free using kitchen scraps and yard waste.
Wait, what? Yes, you can make compost; the black gold for vegetable gardeners at home for free!
In this article we are going to highlight how to compost using free local resources.
Getting ready to start
When attempting to do anything there is some preparations that go into it. For example, when you are looking to buy a car you usually check out local dealerships.
You compare prices and safety ratings before taking that leap into ownership.
The same can be said about composting, you want to do some research about the ingredients you will need. The next thing is to source them in your area. It is possible.
Lets look at the first step in how to compost using free local resources.
The proper mix
When making compost you want to have the proper mixture of ingredients to produce a good balanced compost.
These ingredients are broken down into two groups; greens and browns. The greens are nitrogen rich items while the browns are carbon rich items, both of which are needed to make compost. The proper mix with some water and oxygen provide the best conditions for making fully decomposed compost to use in your garden.
Pick an easy to find base
I use leaves and grass clippings, both of which are easily found in most areas as my base. A good portion of people living in cities put their bagged up leaves and grass clippings out to the curb for the trash company or city to pick up. It is possible to drive around the neighborhoods in your city and picked up enough leaves and grass clippings to make compost for the year. Your neighbors will practically pay you to take it. In the fall of 2014 I went on one of my monthly collections through the neighborhood and came home with twelve bags of mulched up leaves perfect for the compost bin. Leaves (carbon) mixed with grass clippings (nitrogen) are the foundation to a great compost.
Start building your pile
You start your pile with these two basic compost ingredients by layering them in alternating layers. Grass clippings then leaves, grass clippings then leaves again also adding some water every few layers to aid in the compost process. This is how to compost using free local resources, making the most of every opportunity or source that you can find.
Tip: The best size for a compost pile is roughly three feet wide by three feet long by three feet tall. Once your pile has reached this point you can then shift your resources into starting another compost pile.
There are other local resources that you can get for free such as coffee grounds. Check with your local coffee shops. Starbucks will give you free used coffee grounds to use in your compost pile.
Other compost materials
Coffee grounds can also be adding in small amounts directly into your garden beds. There has been some speculation as to coffee grounds acidifying your soil when added into your garden. Used coffee grounds do not acidify your soil enough to alter the ph.
Turning your compost pile
Once you have your compost pile started with alternating layers of leaves, grass clippings and other random ingredients the pile will start to heat up as the compost process begins. You want to turn the pile every few days and continue to keep the compost pile damp but not overly wet. The turning will ensure that things are evenly breaking down. Your compost will be ready in as little as two months if properly maintained.
How to use compost
Compost can mixed into your soil, used as a top dressing or applied as a compost tea solution. I have had amazing results with all three of these approaches. I add compost around the base of any new plant and water it in with compost tea. This has increased my harvest tremendously. I hope that this has inspired on how to compost using free local resources. Check back for future articles for more on using your compost.
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