Your Garden’s Best Secret
We are a top pool builder and landscape expert in Katy, and we have some valuable information on one of the best outdoor practices: composting. Do you know about composting? Composting is the process of turning various decaying organic substances into a matter that can be used as a potent soil fertilizer. Compost can be remarkably beneficial for the health of your garden’s soil and plant life. Best of all, it can be started in your own kitchen. Below, we explore the process of composting and give you some vital pointers on starting your own compost pile.
Need some help getting your garden started? We are a top pool builder in Katy and Houston, and can offer you some amazing insights and services. Let’s get your yard looking beautiful.
Ah, composting. Nature’s recycling process right in front of our eyes. There are many benefits to starting your own compost pile, which include doing something useful with household waste you may be tossing pointlessly, contributing to a never-ending pile of garbage building on our planet. Some of these scraps can be used to create compost, an amazing collection of organic decay that can provide vital nutrients to your garden’s soil. So what goes into compost? How do you get started? Let’s break it all down (literally).
Where do I start?:
First, you’ll want to look into your options on where to start your pile. There are a lot of options out there that range in price, from very inexpensive to very high-end. What you choose is up to you, your yard, and your lifestyle. One of the simplest ways is to start a compost pile in the backyard. It only needs to be a few feet in diameter, and you can fence it off with wire or plastic fencing. If you choose this outdoor method, keep in mind that everything about this process will be organic. As you add your scraps to the pile, you will want to lightly spray it to keep it moist (not drenched). The sun will naturally heat the pile up and begin the decay process. You’ll also have to mix it up every once in a while to allow air in, achieving a rich and dark compost. This may not be the method for you if you have particularly nosy pets (or maybe children). Also, if you’re concerned about an earthy smell, this may not be for you either. You also have the option of choosing from a wide variety of commercial compost bins. There are some bins, like the SoilSaver Composter, that are designed to sit in your backyard and contain all the compost for you while also retaining heat. There is also a very interesting option on the market called the Hot Frog Living Composter. This compost bin is filled with trays of worms (yes, live worms) that eat your scraps and produce waste (the compost). This method can be fascinating, especially for young children learning about the environment. If creepy crawlies are not your thing, you can also start with a very simple indoor compost bin that can sit right on your kitchen counter, perfect for smaller yards or apartments. Stores such as World Market and Amazon have a wide variety of highly-rated indoor bins you can try, such as the Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin that comes with charcoal filters to eliminate odors. To begin your compost, simply do a bit of research and pick the bin or pile that’s best for you.
What do I put in my pile?:
Keep in mind that there are many things you can include in a compost pile, and many things you can’t. For an outdoor pile, you can begin to add dead plants, fruit scraps, chopped up leaves, and grass clippings. You can use larger materials like branches and woody stems on the bottom for airflow. For outdoor piles especially, you’ll want to avoid too much food material if possible because there is the chance it could attract some outdoor critters. For indoor bins, feel free to add many kitchen scraps, but never meat or dairy, or plastic (obviously). Tea leaves, fruits and veggies, egg shells, coffee grounds, and even some cardboard are great options for any type of compost. The most important thing when it comes to creating a compost pile is balance: you don’t want to rely on just one material. Mix it up (literally), and make sure your compost has a healthy variety so it’s able to balance itself. Compostable scraps in addition with heat and moisture will create a rich fertilizer. Also, do not include your pet’s manure in your compost. Finally, if you’re adding yard trimmings, make sure they do not contain pesticides. When it comes to adding to the pile, think organic and easily decaying.
How long does it take?:
Eager to get started? Great! Just be sure to be in it for the long haul. Depending on a wide variety of factors, composting can take anywhere from three months to a couple of years. This can depend on the environment, the size of the pile, the materials inside, etc. Finely shredding all the materials you place inside will help the process go faster, as it provides more airflow and smaller items are more easily broken down. Also, if you decided on a worm composter, the process may go a little faster as they are constantly eating and breaking down the substances. How do you know when it’s ready? When your compost begins to look like a rich, dark topsoil. It should also have an earthy smell to it. The organic materials should no longer be recognizable and the pile itself should have shrunk, because everything has been breaking down and getting smaller. After this wait, you’re ready to go!
What can I use it for?:
There are many, many ways to use your perfected compost pile. You can sprinkle it into the topsoil of flowers or plants to provide nutrients, or rake it into tree beds. Additionally, you can mix it into the potting soil of indoor plants, or place it on your lawn soil as a healthy boost. Vegetables can be grown with your compost as a vital supplement. You can even create a “compost tea” by steeping your compost in a bucket of water for a few days, and sprinkling it over plant life. Ideally, compost will help you boost the health of your lawn and plants, and also help you cut back on household waste. Just be sure to wait until it’s ready to use it, as it can attract unwanted pests if it hasn’t fully broken down.
Lastly, some tips and tricks. There are a few things you can do to make sure your compost is the best one around. If the odor of your pile is way too strong, keep in mind that you may have added too much green material or water. Make sure to turn the compost to aerate it, and also add some more dry material. If you find maggots in an outdoor pile, be sure to cover up the kitchen scraps to keep them from easy access. Also keep in mind that if your pile is too dry, it could attract ants. Remember to keep it moist at a decent level, and to add material regularly so the compost can become rich. Also, don’t start too small with your pile if it’s outdoors, because it will need some level of density to breakdown well. And remember, it can all seem overwhelming when you start. Just keep researching and eventually it will all balance out!
Most of all, check in with your local pool builder and landscape company. We are the top pool builder and landscape company in Katy, Houston, and the Greater Houston area. If you’re in need of some new design, contact us today.
Have you created a homegrown compost pile? Are you starting your compost journey? Be sure to share your stories and pictures with us in the comments or on our Facebook page, @3dpoolsandlandscapekaty. Found this article helpful? Please share it! None of the links in this article are affiliate brands of 3D Pools and Landscape, just some friendly recommendations.