Composting in my backyard started a journey for me to connect with the food I eat in ways I simply didn’t experience for the first 33 years of my life. 2018 will be the 6th season with a compost pile in our backyard. I thoroughly enjoy digging in my compost pile. I love both Spring and Fall because I get to move my compost into the places in my yard and garden that need it. I’m not an expert, but I have learned a few things along the way that have transformed my compost pile into useful material for garden soil, potting soil and even planting new grass.
So you think you want to compost? Have you considered the following questions?
What do you do to start?
What should you put in it?
How will you maintain your compost pile?
These are important questions that will be answered as you think about your why to create compost and what your goals are for the material. I’m 100% on board with composting and using food and yard waste to create dirt, but remember, organic material will compost in a landfill. You are not going to save the world with your compost pile. You can save yourself some money and create a product for your own yard that you can dig out whenever you need it.
First, consider your goals for what your compost pile turns into. It’s not going to turn into dirt over night. Do you…
- simply want a place to put your food, yard and some paper waste
- hope to create a mulch like compost to put in places in your yard at certain times of the year
- want to till or dig in compost material into your garden and soil to create more nutritious soil
- hope to create potting like soil for all your planting needs
A compost pile can fulfill all of the above but it is going to look a bit different depending on what you hope to get out of it. How much work do you want to dedicate to your compost pile?
- Do you just want to dump your organic waste into your pile and forget about it?
- Will you turn over or stir up the material in your compost pile? How often?
- Will you sift or filter your compost material to extract the finer material and leave the larger material behind to continue decomposing before you use it?
Be honest about the 2nd set of questions. If you don’t want to turn your compost, you can still have a compost pile that decomposes into dirt, but you need to be realistic about what you will get out of it. Some other things to consider before starting a compost pile.
- Do you care what your pile looks like?
- What will be the sources of what you put in your compost pile?
- How will you monitor the material in your compost pile?
A lot of sources make a compost pile sound easy, but you need to consider some things if you plan to just let it sit and forget. Organic material will rot if you do not monitor it. Nobody likes the smell of rotting organic waste. But there are some simply ways that you can combat this. Use the links below for more information about certain part of the composting process.