Composting FAQs

June 5, 2013 | Fertilizing Tips, Gardening, posted by Sasha

two hands holding dirt

Composting is a cheap, natural and earth-friendly way to improve soil and nutrient conditions for your garden. Here are some frequently asked questions about basic composting:

  • How often should I turn my compost pile?
    Every two weeks to aerate the compost

  • When should I apply the compost to my garden?
    Two to four weeks before you plant

  • How do I make my compost less smelly?
    Aerate your compost regularly; the smell is generated by the anaerobic microbes that give off an odor as they break down your compost. Aerating limits their activity and stimulates the less smelly aerobic microbes.

  • Where should I put my compost pile?
    Composting works best when placed in a place where it can receive direct sunlight.

  • What is the recommended size for a compost pile?
    A 3-foot cube. This size is manageable for turning and ideal for retaining heat alongside air flow.

  • How do I compost during the winter?
    Compost works best at higher temperatures, but it is still possible to continue composting through the winter. Keep the compost in a black bin in direct sunlight. You can also take further measures to insulate the compost using hay bales.

  • What is the ideal ratio of carbon materials to nitrogen materials?
    ⅓ nitrogen and ⅔ carbon

  • How can I tell when it’s done?
    Finished compost should look, smell, and feel like rich and dark soil. None of the original materials that you put into the pile should be recognizable.

  • What types of things should I not put in the compost pile?
    Avoid these following items, as they can attract unwanted pests or spread detrimental chemicals or diseases into your compost.

    • fats

    • pet droppings

    • animal products

    • plants treated with pesticides or herbicides

    • perennial weeds

    • diseased plants

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