Nowadays there are literally million upon millions of people making their own organic compost, although of course, everyone has their own reasons for doing so.
While some people simply want to save some money by not having to buy commercial compost, others are doing it simply for the fun of it, or perhaps because they care about the environment.
Likewise, many avid gardeners choose to make their own compost simply because it beats the pants off the compost you can buy at garden centers, not too mention the fact that unless you make it yourself, you can never be absolutely sure it really is organic.
Whatever your reason is, you will of course still require some composting equipment, although the equipment you require will to a certain extent depend on what your composting requirements are.
In all likelihood, you probably already have some equipment which you can use, rather than go out and buy expensive pieces of equipment from a garden center.
What You’ll Need to Get Started
Generally speaking, you’ll need the following in order to start your own compost making process at home:
- Compost thermometer
- Compost turner
- Compost bin
- Compost starter
Over and above these five items, you’ll probably also require a few other miscellaneous items depending on what you already have laying around at home.
Admittedly, people have been making their own compost for longer that you or I care to remember, and I very much doubt they’ve all been using the latest compost thermometers.
However, if you budget allows for it, then it’s highly recommended that you get so that you can monitor the temperature in the center of the compost pile. This will also give you a good indication as to when the pile needs to be turned. Essentially, to make the most nutrient rich compost, the temperature in the core should be between 105 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature reaches the upper limit, it’s time for you to turn the compost.
Of course, you don’t have to go out and buy an expensive compost thermometer, providing you can find a relatively robust thermometer capable of reading this sort of temperature range.
As with the case of a thermometer, people have been making compost hundreds of years, and turning the compost regularly, without the need for “high-tech” power tools, so of course, unless you have plenty of money to throw around, you may want to consider improvising by making your own compost turner.
For example, shovels, rakes and hoes all make great compost turners, and the great thing is, you more than likely already have some of these at home. Alternatively, you can simply use a strong wooden stick such as a broom handle, which can be driven into the compost pile several times in order to allow oxygen to get inside.
In fact, I made my own hot temperature compost turner using a broom handle with two three inch nails driven through the working end, and I can assure you, it works a treat. Bear in mind though that if the nails are too long, it makes turning rather difficult. On the other hand, having short nails doesn’t result in too much resistance, while at the same time they help to increase the efficiency of the stick.
Of course you could simply visit your local garden center and buy a compost bin, but then again, our aim is to get this show on the road without having to hand out our hard earned cash.
As such, there are several different types of compost bins you can make at home for a fraction of the price.
In fact, if you’re really creative, you could probable make one for free.
For example, you can use and old garbage can simply by punching some holes in the sides in order to allow for oxygen to get in.
- The only downside to this type of bin is that it’s relatively small, so really, you won’t be able to make very much compost at a time.
- Also, you’ll need to make sure it has a lid in order to keep uninvited guests out.
Personally, I prefer having compost piles in an enclosed area in one corner of the yard, as it allow me to process more waste, and of course, access is no problem at all. If you use this method, do remember that you may need to construct a roof over the area if live in an area that gets plenty of rain.
Alternatively, you can make a compost bin using some old fencing and a few stakes. Just use the stakes to secure the fencing in a circular shape, and then you can begin filling it with and biodegradable waste you have, remembering to turn the compost every now and then.
Of course, most garden centers nowadays sell compost starters but if you’re reading this article, the chances are you want to get your compost making started without having to spend money, and without having to rely on someone else. Well, the good news is that you can indeed make your own starter, and what’s more, you have a few different options, due to organic horticulture.
While many gardeners will have their own secret recipes, the most common DIY starters are:
- Nettle tea (brew or ferment in rain water)
- Russian tea (fermented cow dung in ten parts water)
- Mature compost
- Chairman Mao‘s (urine mixed with water in a 1:4 ratio)
Once again. I personally feel it’s better to build your pile directly on the ground rather than in a bin, but of course it depends on your personal requirements and conditions. However, starting your pile on the ground will make it easier for nature to go to work, in that worms and bacteria will soon find their way into the pile.
Organic compost can be obtained from most garden centers nowadays, but if you’d rather use your own, then you simply need to start a small amount of compost using one of the recipes above as a starter, as well as a bit of biodegradable waste.
- Within a few weeks you’ll have you first batch of mature organic compost, which of course is ideal for kick-starting your main composting project.
- Simply start by placing some organic compost on the ground, followed by a little starter, and then you’re all set to begin adding waste anytime you wish.
If you’ve read this article from start to finish, then I think it’s safe to assume you’re set to go, and the best part is that you can get started without having to fork our a load of your hard earned cash.