We have a compost pile. It started when my husband pulled out a pesky lilac that was taking over the corner of our yard. In the dirt patch, he happily started gathering together fallen leaves and grass clippings, and the next year while we were putting in our first raised bed garden, we happily took from the pile to fill the space. When I planted my garden that year, the results were impressive and I was hooked.
We then moved to building a structure around out pile out of wood and patio pavers, but you can use any kind of containment device you have available. You could just reign it in with chicken wire, if that suits your needs. You do want air to be able to get at the pile, though, so keep that in mind when choosing what you want to use.
Wanna see ours?
Composting is a way you can provide your own organic material for feeding your plants, and fall is the perfect time to start your own with all the fallen leaves around for the taking. When building your compost pile, size can be a factor. Go for a structure or container that is at least 3’x3′. You can just make a loop with chicken wire off in the corner of your yard if you don’t have much space. Then for materials, you want to start with three “browns” to one “green.” Browns are dead material are usually dead and are high in carbon. Greens are items that are high in nitrogen.
The table below lists different types of compostable brown and green materials. Egg shells are not on the list, but they are a great alkalizer and source of calcium in your compost. They’re also the only animal byproduct that should be going in (unless you have herbivore manure from chickens or cows, for example, that you can add). Stir your pile with a pitchfork once a month or so to get oxygen into the mix and help it along and keep it from smelling.
|Browns (High Carbon)||Greens (High Nitrogen)|
|fallen leaves||grass clippings|
|hay or straw||fruit rinds and scraps|
|garden debris, dried||vegetable scraps|
|peanut shells||coffee grounds|
|pine needles||tea leaves|
|shredded paper||garden debris, fresh|
I’m in love with our compost pile, and I’ll love it even more when it has a removable door on the front. Ahem. It’s been great having natural fertilizer at the ready when we garden in the spring.
**UPDATE: So, I realize my yard is on the larger side. It’s one of the reasons we bought our house. However, you don’t need much space for a compost pile. To demonstrate, I asked if our friends, Jeremy and Amy, would let us show you a few photos from their teeny, tiny yard. Observe what one can do with 650 square feet of space.