Composting: The Simple, No Stress Way

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Compost. The Simple, No Stress Way.

You have either never used it before, bought it in bags or you hear the word and can instantly smell earthy, rich goodness along with feeling the satisfaction knowing it came from your own property.

Compost brings new life and richness to everything it touches. It is one of the basics of yard care and homesteading. It facilitates a rotating system in your yard where you can recycle green and browns, your nitrogens and carbons. These combined with time and some moisture will eventually create dark, rich goodness to feed your plants the nutrients they want and need. All of this while creating an ecosystem of diversity.

This may sound too good to be true, but what if I told you at the same time that it was simple and stress free? Not lying folks, this is the real deal and our ancestors used this as a staple year in and year out. This is how to make simple compost.

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Compost is simple and no stress. One of the foundations of a homestead.

(Looking for more homesteading and gardening? Check out:

HARVESTING MAMMOTH SUNFLOWERS

LENTIL SPROUTS FOR CHICKENS (AND YOUR FAMILY) – A PROTEIN PACKED WINTER TREAT

UTILIZING THE POWER OF FALL LEAVES IN THE GARDEN)

Did you know? Compost helps:

  • Retain Moisture in Soil
  • Lower Your Carbon Footprint by Lowering Methane Emissions
  • Minimize Plant Diseases
  • Eliminate the Need for Chemical Fertilizers

If you’re interested in more of the science behind composting, see this from CORNELL UNIVERSITY.

So, what’s in simple compost?

Three words. Greens, Browns, Water.

See some examples below:

Greens (Nitrogen)

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  • Grass Clippings
  • Fruit or Vegetable Waste
  • Coffee Grounds, Tea Bags
  • Egg Shells
  • Hair and fur
  • Fireplace ashes

Browns (Carbon)

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  • Dead Leaves
  • Small, broken up branches or twigs
  • Cardboard, Paper, Newspaper
  • Hay, Straw
  • Sawdust, wood chips

Water

  • Add just enough water to moisten the pile, but do not soak it. General rule of thumb is that if the compost pile starts to smell or feel slimy you’re adding too much water.

“All you’re doing is creating the right environment and speeding up the process so nature can give you more than it would otherwise.”

 

5 Steps to Simple Compost!

Listen, many sources will tell you that you have to have a certain amount of carbon or nitrogen… that you have to mix it every week… or have a certain composting container etc. Forget all of that. As long as you use common sense and pay attention to your pile YOU WILL BE FINE!

This is literally a natural process that happens every day on its own. All you’re doing is creating the right environment and speeding up the process so nature can give you more than it would otherwise.

  1. Designate a spot in your yard for compost. It needs to be resting on the dirt. Measure a space at a minimum 3’x3′. If you’re using a container then find a spot for it in the yard.
  2. You can add wood, blocks, pallets etc. to the sides if you want to keep it contained or raise the pile up higher (higher usually means faster process). Keep in mind though that you will need to be able to get to your pile to turn it.
  3. Start layering! Green, brown, green, brown, add water as necessary (just enough for it to be moist, not dripping wet).
Partially composted pile, a few weeks old.

4. Turn as often as you would like. That means using a shovel or pitch fork to mix up the whole pile. Try to pile it up as vertical as possible.

5. Once your compost is that dark, rich, earthy smell and you no longer have large pieces of leaves and garden waste etc. then you’re ready to add to your plants.

That’s it. Simple Compost. Composting really can be a no stress process if you let it.

Have fun with it: have the kids help, let the chickens go at it if you want. Some people swear by using a thermometer to optimize the process but again, we’ve never done that and have had great success. In the winter months sometimes you can see the steam coming off the compost, as it heats up and breaks down. Once you’ve done this a couple times compost will just happen naturally on your homestead and you won’t even give it a second thought.

Finished compost

If you watch and maintain your compost pile religiously you can have beautiful, earthy compost within 3 months. For me, I usually have a finished pile within 6 months and my preference is to have two or three piles going at the same time so that you can have a rotating supply year round. I am okay with it taking time and not taking me away from other priorities because we have multiple piles on our property.

For those using a container or can due to not having enough space: the same principles apply.

Once you’ve got that compost in hand and are ready to use it, never forget to have it in a bucket constantly and spread it all around. It’s gardener’s gold after all…

(Looking for more homesteading and gardening? Check out:

HARVESTING MAMMOTH SUNFLOWERS

LENTIL SPROUTS FOR CHICKENS (AND YOUR FAMILY) – A PROTEIN PACKED WINTER TREAT

UTILIZING THE POWER OF FALL LEAVES IN THE GARDEN)

I hope this was helpful to those of you starting out because composting is simple and stress free! It is a very easy thing to master, a foundational step along the path to your very own homestead or garden. It’s always the most difficult to get started, but once you do, you just might find your passion and not be able to stop.

Cheers to compost,

-Rachel

Herbs, Birds & the Bees

Less Dependence, More Abundance

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