Garden Composting Tips
Welcome to the fun and exciting world of garden composting! They say that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but with composting you can make your own (organic) trash your own treasure.
The reason composting is so exciting is that it puts your kitchen scraps, weeds, grass clippings, etc, back into the soil where you plant vegetables. The result is healthier plants which grow tasty produce. That's the food cycle that Yahweh created, and we are best off when we follow His ways!
How To Make A Compost Bin
You can be really creative with this step. The goal is to have two large containers that are big enough to store the scraps that you generate daily.
For my lasagna garden, I just use two trash bins I got at Walmart for $10 each. I drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom for drainage, and a few more holes at the top for (minimal) ventilation. Here's a picture of me with my first compost bin (my second bin will be used later on)...
Another idea is to make a four-sided bin out of galvanized metal, held together with four wooden posts. Or if you have extra fencing, floor boards, or even wooden crates, you can nail them together to make a wooden composting bin.
It's best to have two bins (or more, if necessary). One is the "active" bin, which is where you add scraps and other things as they become available. Then, when that bin fills up, start putting the scraps in the second bin, while the first bin sits and decomposes.
As you become more aware of composting, you'll soon realize how many things around you can be added to the bin. The most obvious things that can be turned into garden compost are kitchen scraps, like fruit peelings or cores, and rotten fruits or veggies. Weeds from the yard can also be thrown into the bin, along with grass clippings or dried leaves. And you can even sprinkle in some manure between layers.
How you throw everything together depends on your composting strategy. The procedure I follow is to add a couple inches of living materials, like fresh kitchen scraps, recently pulled weeds, etc., followed by a layer of dried materials, like dried leaves, dry straw, dry manure, etc. This method requires almost no maintenance. Once the container is full, I let it sit for a few weeks, or until I think that all the materials have decomposed. Then I mix it around a little, and if I notice any materials that have not been fully composed, I let it sit a little longer, until everything turns to dirt.
Another strategy you can use is to rotate the bin daily or weekly. As you can see, there are many ways to make garden compost. It's just that some ways produce compost faster than others. For example, if you randomly throw the materials in a bin, it will eventually decompose, but it may take several months!
How To Use The Finished Compost
When all the organic materials in your compost bin are fully decomposed, you are left with soil that is packed full with all kinds of good nutrients. You can use that soil just like you would regular dirt, but to get the best use out of it, you probably want to add it to your garden.
When you plant a new seed, surround it with compost. When you notice a bare patch in your garden, cover it with compost. When you pull up weeds, lay the weeds down where they were growing and cover them up with compost.
I'm sure you'll find many creative ways of making and using compost as you try it out for yourself. Remember, there are very few "rules" when it comes to composting. As you just take the first step and decide to start composting, Yahweh will guide you along the way and will help you to make the best nutrient-rich garden compost for your vegetables and flowers.
Now that you know how to make garden compost, your next step is to find out how you can incorporate it into a highly productive lasagna garden.