It might sound daunting, but building your own backyard compost pile is actually quite easy. Replacing traditional chemical fertilizers with your own homemade, organic compost is great for the environment and for your family, especially if you use it to grow healthy fruits and veggies in an edible garden.
What you’ll need: A good compost pile requires food, water and air. It may sound simple, but compost piles really only need those basic ingredients to work. Start by saving all organic waste from your kitchen (like banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds and vegetable scraps) for use in your compost pile.
Pick an outdoor space in which you’ll put your compost pile. The pile should be conveniently close to your garden, but in an out-of-the-way place where it won’t become an eyesore. You can choose to store your compost in an open container (which can be made of wood, chicken wire or plastic) or a closed container (which often take the shape of an upright box or a rotating drum). Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so do your research before you settle on one or the other.
Finally, you’ll need to be sure to keep your pile moist and to turn it often so it can get some air.
What can you add to your compost pile?
- Grass, fresh or dried
- Leaves, brown or green
- Fresh manure
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
Balance is everything
When building your compost pile, you will want to keep balance in mind. Too much greenery can turn your pile into a soggy mess with too much moisture and too little air. And no one wants a pile of smelly garbage as a compost pile. A good mix of browns (dried leaves and grass) and greens (kitchen scraps and green leaves) is essential for a well-balanced compost pile.