Here on Bucklebury Farm, we are getting the garden beds prepped and ready for planting. Part of every successful garden is compost. We spent a little time establishing our compost pile – this will be the spot to deposit leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps – all which by the magic of mother nature will be turned into compost – the black gold of the gardening world.
Since we were establishing a compost pile from scratch, I figured I’d post our step by step process. Here on the farm, we’re using John Jeavons‘ biointensive grow method, and so we followed his recipe for compost, too. It’s pretty much this: 40% brown stuff, 40% green stuff, 10% soil.
Since we don’t have neighbors to see our compost pile, we just went for an open pile, but you could use pallets, chicken wire and a few posts, or even really fancy compost bins if you want it to look neater. We just put ours above the garden sort of near the barn.
How to make a compost pile – step by step
1. Pick a spot. Under a deciduous oak tree is best, because this environment is already sort of a compost pile (leaves fall and are turned into soil at the tree’s base). Stay 6 feet away from the trunk to avoid creating a home for destructive insects.
2. Loosen the dirt in the area for your compost pile (a minimum of 3×3 feet) to facilitate critters coming up from the soil and into your pile. Lay down 3 inches or so of brush, branches, or sticks to allow some aeration between the soil and your pile. Then cover with a layer of “brown stuff” – or what Jeavons calls “mature vegetation”. Also known as leaves. Water this layer well.
3. Cover with a layer of “green stuff” or “immature vegetation” also known as grass clippings, weeds from your garden, kitchen scraps, etc.
4. Water in the green stuff.
5. Add your kitchen scraps (egg shells, veggie scraps, coffee grounds) and water that in.
6. We also added ashes from our woodstove, and watered that in as well.
7. Get a layer of soil ready to cover the whole thing. This will keep everything in place and also keep out flies or other curious visitors. We used soil that we dug up from the garden beds, which is also full of “green stuff” AKA weeds.
8. Water in the layer of top soil.
9. You’re all done! Now each time you want to add to your compost pile, remember it goes brown stuff, green stuff, soil. Water between each layer.
You can turn the compost pile once in a couple weeks to facilitate the breakdown process, but it’s not necessary. You can just let nature do its’ thing!
Let’s talk compost
Have you made compost before? Use it in your garden? Any tips or steps you’d have added? Tell me in the comments.