Saturday, November 9, 2013

Making Compost ... My First Attempt

I got a late start on making compost, but better late than never. It's been about 3-4 weeks since I started collecting things for my pile.

I had grass clippings and kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, jack o'lanterns and cardboard. I knew I didn't have enough carbon releasing items in it so it wasn't going to cook very fast. I couldn't wait for the leaves to fall from the trees. I turned it and watered it, but not much action going on yet.

But the leaves have fallen and I have collected a bunch. I mowed the back yard one last time and mowed over the leaves that were there. I then used the sweeper and collected as much as I could of that and put it in the compost pile.

This box is opened on the bottom. It measures 4'x4'x1'.

I made a chicken wire compost bin just for leaves. It sits next to the compost pile. I filled it part way full with the leaves that have thus far fallen in the front yard. I'll get some more later after more have fallen.

So after wondering what I was going to do with the leaves I decided that I would store them until next spring. But I didn't want a ton of large lawn bags full of leaves laying around.

I ordered a leaf shredder and it arrived today. I shredded all the leaves and reduced them to 1 1/2 bags. I love that little leaf shredder! I even shredded some of my compost pile with the intention of doing the whole pile. But that didn't work out as planned. My compost pile was somewhat wet and while the shredder did shred everything, it also stuck around the sides and needed to be cleaned off often. So I quit doing it.

I think I will just leave the pile alone now except for turning it about once a week and watering it. I think it should be broken down enough by spring. Any large material will be caught when I strain it through a screen.

As for the bagged leaves, I have read that I can use those with rabbit pellets to create compost. Maybe I will try that in the spring.

My goal is to have enough homemade compost to use in my square foot gardening beds. We'll see.