Hints for a Good Compost





Introduction: Hints for a Good Compost

Compost is very good for plants. Unfortunately it doesn' t always work like it should. Here I have written some hints for making a good, healthy compost.

Step 1: What to Add (And What Not to Add)

For your compost pile to properly decompose into a proper compost it needs to contain the proper ingredients.

Things to add to a compost pile:

-Paper/Cardboard (Not waxed)
-Garden waste (Avoid weeds with seeds and rhizomes to prevent their spread)
-Coffee grounds and Tea leaves
-Eggshells (Cleaned from the yolk and egg whites)
-Kitchen waste

Things that shouldn't be put in compost:

-Egg whites and yolks
-Dairy products
-Manure (Some is OK to put in compost but some may have parasites)

Step 2: Container and Care

The container which contains compost should have openings for proper aeration. The process of composting is an aerobic decomposition process. If the compost doesn't get enough air a anaerobic decomposition process might happen which is rotting.
Also for a compost pile to properly decompose it needs to be moist for the micro-organisms which do the composting to decompose the pile. This means that in dry weather watering may be needed. Although water is needed too much of it may get rid of oxygen in the pile letting unwanted anaerobic decomposition to happen.

Step 3: Helpful Herbs

Composting usually takes a rather long time but there are ways to make the process faster. Some herbs such as Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) can speed up the decomposition process. One small finely chopped leaf of the Yarrow plant can speed up the decomposition of a whole wheelbarrel of compost. Also Camomile when put on a compost pile it promotes its decomposition.

Step 4: Other Ways of Speeding the Process Up

There are yet other ways of speeding the decomposition process up such as:

-Adding old compost will add more of the micro-organisms that are needed
-Adding fertilizers, manures, or other things rich in nitrogen
-Adding worms
-Good aeration
-Adding some saprophytic fungi

Step 5: End Product

Once all the micro-organisms in the compost pile with your help decompose all of the matter you've put in it you'll have an natural and organic compost which will help all of you plants grow big and healthy.



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    I was always told to pee in the compost as this will speed things up. Not sure why.

    Actually, urine is Urea, which breaks down into Nitrogen. BTW, this is also why female dogs (in heat) burn the lawn; their urine is super high in urea. But if you dump some water on the spot right after she peed, it will dilute the urea and stop it burning the grass.

    I see how that could help. I think urine is high in nitrogen containing chemicals like which tend to "warm up" a compost pile by speedily decomposing which raises the pile's temperature and promotes decomposition.

    Thanks for the tip on adding the Yarrow or Camomile, I didn't know that it would affect the composting process time. I will make an effort to try this with mine..

    You can add meat, dairy and grease ... but they need to be added to the hot part of the pile or they will attract rodents. Please don't attempt to refute this until you've actually tried it (as I have) with a hot pile. I promise you that no self-respecting rat will stick his nose in a hot pile (160 F. or better).

    ANY manure, including human, can be added to the center of the pile and parasites / pestilence will NOT survive. Where the manure CANNOT be used is as a side-dressing in its raw state. If you are not comfortable with using some manures for fear of parasites, just let the pile age for a full year -- no human parasite can survive a full year outside of a living body. Heat, cold and ultraviolet will all take a toll and the combination is deadly.

    Check out the "humanure handbook" by Jensen (DAGS) for the actual facts on this stuff.

    Someone suggested uploading a photo. Here's proof that I know my stuff. This is not the hottest my piles usually get ... it's just the first photo I came across ... 170 degrees F. for 2-3 weeks at a time is not at all unusual. That is well above autoclave temps for lots longer time than needed to sterilize surgical instruments.


    Yes, however not everyone with a compost has one which heats up that high. But if one does, then, well, you might as well try to compost anything organic you have.

    If your pile is at least 1 cubic yard and contains the proper mixture of nitrogen, carbon, air and water, it -will- heat up that high. The thermometer will tell you how you did with this particular pile. If you don't like what it is telling you, just tear the pile down and start over ... and that may be all that it takes because sometimes the material simply wasn't mixed well enough the first time. Remix it, adding water to it as you go and give it 3-4 days to heat up again. You may be very pleasantly surprised at the results.

    That said, perfectly usable compost can be made at lower temps and higher temps are no guarantee of sterility of the pile as a whole. Nor is the sterility of the pile a goal unless you have knowingly added manure from sick animals (two-legged as well as four). In that case, it will probably heat up just fine. Turn it like crazy and then let it sit for an extra season.

    Stuff rots. Leave a pile of tree leaves alone long enough with NO additional ingredients and NO turning and it will rot. Do the same for a bale of hay and you'll get the same result. Organic material does not need us to do anything in order for it to rot ... otherwise the planet would be covered in a layer of dinosaur do-do and carcasses of every sort.

    Indeed. So people make composts to contain all the decay in a single area to prevent the decay microbes from going away, and for aesthetic reasons. Rotting wood doesn't have as good of a consistancy for some purposes as compost has. However compost or no compost, whatever is rotting, it sure does make your veggies grow good.

    Masterdude, I think I need to let you have the final say here. In the end, everything that came from the earth returns to it and given enough organic material and a little water, even the desert can be made to bloom. I think we can agree on that.

    However you choose to compost is fine by me ... there really is no wrong way as long as you account for local conditions.

    I hope to continue learning and I try to share what I have learned with others who have not learned it yet, all the while learning from them the things that I do not yet know.

    Peace. Out.
    Just Bill

    Autoclaves run ~220F at ~20psi. (at least in the labs I've been in) Not saying that you are incorrect about the other stuff. Running a really hot compost will kill pretty much anything. Just be sure to get the outside stuff to the inside to get it decomposed. I wish I could get my pile that hot. :-(