Composting is a great way to turn your garden waste into nutrient-rich compost for plants. But there are some tips you should keep in mind to make sure it goes smoothly.
Turn the pile
If you have a compost pile, you need to turn it every few weeks. Doing so will help to keep the compost from getting too hot and dry. It also helps the microorganisms to get the oxygen they need to perform.
The process of composting involves several stages. In the first stage, mesophilic organisms break down materials. This includes dried leaves, dead plants and straw. They break proteins into smaller particles and fats into finer ones. Mesophiles and thermophiles are responsible for breaking down complex carbohydrates.
To help speed up the decomposition process, mix your compost. This enables the bacteria in the pile to work more efficiently. A good mix of green and brown materials will produce the perfect compost.
Some gardeners like to use a composting tumbler to turn their piles. These devices are quite expensive, however. You can also manually turn your compost using a pitchfork or shovel.
Keep it moist
Keeping your compost pile moist is one of the easiest ways to speed up your composting. A pile that is too dry can attract flies. And excess moisture can cause anaerobic decomposition. It can also attract pests.
In order to keep your compost pile moist, you can aerate it with a garden hose or by putting it in a bucket. You can also put a layer of burlap or plastic over the top to restrict evaporation. If you are using a bucket, be sure to place it on a tarp.
To keep your compost pile moist, add green and brown materials. These materials provide nitrogen and carbon, which is needed for proper decomposition. Green matter includes grass clippings, leaves, and plant scraps.
Brown materials are usually straw, dried leaves, shredded paper, or cardboard. They are rich in carbon and help to prevent odor. They can also absorb moisture and provide an additional source of carbon.
Measure moisture content
A compost pile needs the right amount of moisture to function well. Optimal moisture levels support microbial activity, while too much or too little moisture can cause foul odors and anaerobic conditions.
The moisture content of your compost pile can be measured using a number of methods. If you want a quick and simple way to measure it, a cheap moisture meter will record your results on a scale. This will help you determine the appropriate amount of water to add to your pile.
Another method of measuring moisture is to use a moist sponge. The best moist sponge is one that contains at least 65% moisture.
For a more detailed measurement, you can purchase a soil moisture meter. These meters will tell you the ideal moisture level for your soil and help you avoid adding too much moisture to your pile.
Prevent critters from getting into it
If you’re looking for an easy way to prevent critters from getting into your compost pile, consider using a wire mesh to line your bin. Rats, mice and other rodents can damage your garden and spread diseases. Wire mesh is easy to place over the top of your bin and secure with pegs.
The key to keeping your compost heap smelling fresh and healthy is to turn your pile regularly. This will ensure that the decomposition process occurs. It will also keep critters from building webs and nests in the center of the pile.
Aside from rats and mice, other animals can be attracted to your pile. Cats, foxes, raccoons, and even coyotes can make their home in your compost bin.
Spiders are beneficial in the garden and can help eat pest insects. They are also a good source of food for many beneficial insects.
Reduce the smell
There are many ways to reduce the smell of compost pile. You can start by keeping non-plant matter out of the bin. This will keep animals out and prevent odors. It will also help with aeration.
If you are having a problem with smells, you may need to adjust the nutrient balance of your compost pile. Too much nitrogen or too little carbon can cause a bad smell. Adding a thin layer of brown material can also help solve this problem.
Another reason your compost pile may smell is that it is overstuffed. When there is too much green material, the resulting compost will smell like ammonia. On the other hand, a pile that is too dry will not decompose properly.
In order to maintain an odor-free compost, the pile should be turned at least once a week. Doing so will allow air to be circulated and allow water to evaporate faster. Turning can be done with a pitchfork or a shovel.