How to make compost

So now that you have some compost bins, you are ready to  make compost! You’ll need to add brown (carbon) material and green (nitrogen) material for heat. For brown I use straw, old hay and leaves. For green I use chicken poo, goatie poo, horse manure but no dog or cat poo, (they eat meat), fresh grass and plant clippings (still green-not dry). Also considered green are eggshells, coffee grounds, fruits and vegetables too old to eat. You can add bloodmeal or cottonseed meal if you don’t have enough heat (nitrogen). The best ratio is 25-30 carbon (brown) to 1 nitrogen (green) commonly listed as CN: 25 or 30/1. What does this translate to in the garden bin? Use 1 part brown to 2 parts green. So add like 2 inches of brown and 4 inches of green. Do this so the pile gets hot enough to decompose into compost. It you don’t add enough green (nitrogen) then the pile will cook much slower. Add enough brown/green layers till pile is about 3 feet high. Water well between layers so pile is moist but not soggy. In about a week, if the pile is hot enough, it will reduce it’s size by about half. Sometime after that, turn it into the middle bin and water again. That way what was on the top will now be on the bottom and be able to break down faster. When the middle pile get’s half as big again, turn it into the the last bin and water again. I use the compost anywhere from the second stage to when it is totally composted.  You can also make compost tea which will add lots of nutrients and soil microorganisms back into the ground to help the plants you will grow this next season.

Here’s is a a great site that explains it all in a lot more detail and in simple terms- Home Composting Made Easy

Now one last word-it’s winter here so you may want to wait till the hose is defrosted in spring to start making compost but it can be done in winter if the green stuff is hot enough and the hose isn’t frozen. And if you make it in early spring it will be ready by planting time.