Posted by Jonathan Manning, CLT - B.S. Horticulture, Colorado State University in Uncategorized

Setting Up Your Compost

By:Whitney Gronseth

A Better Garden Maintenance, LLC
Denver, CO

Now is the perfect time to make that compost bin that you have been meaning to get to. But how do you do it? You can make one yourself for little or not cost, or you can buy one at a store at a higher cost, but with more convenience. One do it yourself option goes something like this; Get a large metal garbage can. Drill holes (or hammer a large nail through to make holes) every 3-4″ all around the can, in rows about 3-4″ apart. To turn the compost, you just tie the lid down with a bit of twine through its lid and the handles on the side of the can, tip the whole thing over, and roll it around the yard a bit. If you decide that you would like to save time and purchase one, you can find them at various home improvement and gardening stores. Prices range from very inexpensive to a bit costly depending on the quality and features of the bin.

Now that your compost bin is set up, now what do you do? First, make sure that you place your compost bin some where away from the house in a shady area. Direct sunlight will dry the compost out. Next, put dry leaves or newspaper in the bottom of the bin. Fill it to about 1/8 – 1/4 full. Now take dirt from your garden and fill it to the half way point of your bin. Now take various organic scraps and paper products and place them in the bin. These are things like eggs shells, orange rinds, grapes, paper towels, etc. Next stir your compost bin, making sure that the scraps are covered with dirt. Spray the mix with lukewarm water till it’s moist, but not soaking wet. Add food scraps every couple of days ensuring that you stir it every time you add something. You will need to wait a few months before using your compost. Make sure that you save at least a third of it so you can make new compost as needed.

There are some common problems that you may run into with your compost bin. First is smell. If it’s far enough away from the house, you may not need to worry about this. But if it does start to become noticeably smelly it is either too wet or has too many un-decomposed scraps in it. Hold off on adding any more water and scraps for a few days and make sure to stir it well. You may also run into our furry friends and insects getting into your compost bin. First make sure not to put any meat in your compost bin. This will attract them like fruit flies. Speaking of fruit flies, if this becomes a problem, add dry soil to the top of the mix. You can also add ammonia to the compost. This will make sure that mice, raccoons, etc. stay out.

Once your compost is ready, you will still need to keep it in the shade for a few days before use. This is because the material is still producing heat from decomposition and will harm or kill the plants that you put it on. Take off the lid and put it into the shade and out of the rain. Leave it there for a few days and when the bin is cool to the touch, your compost is ready for use!

Take the time now to ensure that your garden is beautiful this summer. Call 303-433-3750 for all of your gardening needs and start making your garden healthy now!

30 Dec 2009 no comments

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