A gardener will tell you that the soil from a compost is liquid gold. There are many benefits to composting. It cuts down on waste. Plus, you have a soil packed with nutrients to use in your garden. I will add it to existing plants. Sprinkle some soil around the base of the plant and mix in with the existing soil. I will use this on new plants as well. It is very easy to do but the breaking down of the materials will take a while to get established.
Bare ground can be used or a compost container. Any container can be used as long as it offers a cover and aeration. Plastic bins, garbage cans, wooden boxes and many others are some suggestions. The bare ground did not appeal to me. I did not want critters coming in looking for food.
The key points to remember when getting one established is that you need a mix of green and brown matter. I will discuss this a little later. You need to keep the compost moist and allow aeration. Using a pitchfork, turn the compost material occasionally. I do this every few days. It will not break down properly without turning it. Wet it down with a water hose. Do not get it soaking wet. I spray enough on it to wet it. This is done is the dry months but normally I just let the rain water do its job. You can find more information HERE about composting. There is information on how to start one.
This is my compost bin. It actually is an old toolbox my husband had on his truck at one point. He drilled holes on all 4 sides, the bottom and the top. I decided to use the blocks underneath to allow for drainage plus aeration.
I started with a layer of small twigs. This helps drainage and air flow. I added small amount soil to this first layer. Then it is just layering your greens and browns. Greens are fresh food scraps, fresh cut grass and plant clippings. Browns are considered coffee grounds, paper towels, paper and dry leaves. There is a compost list at this site that will let you know what you can use in your compost. I have used egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, vegetables,chicken manure and much more.
Once established, add to your compost as you need to. I do not layer the items on top. I will mix the new items in with a pitchfork and turn the soil material over. I do not just layer it on top. I have a plastic bowl with lid-(it actually is a recycled ice cream bowl). I keep food scraps in to take to the compost in the fridge. I don’t want the food start breaking down before I can take it outside. Sometimes, it is not convenient to run out to the compost. Keeping it cold will help it from spoiling.
My compost is ready to be sifted. I am just going to use a colander. Sift what I need and add the debris back into the compost bin so that it can continue to finish breaking down.