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Your First Compost Pile in 5 Easy Steps

Composting has many benefits. It provides you with rich and nutritious soil for your garden and allows you to recycle so many parts of your daily garbage production. Additionally, it has the benefit of being easy to put together and maintain. Here are 5 easy steps to making your first compost pile:

  1. Construct a compost bin. A compost bin is just a one cubic yard wooden square to keep out animals and make things neat. You can also purchase compost bins from a home improvement store, or nix the bin altogether and create a pile on the ground.
  2. Find the perfect spot for your compost. Ideally, a sunny spot on bare soil is the place to start your composting.
  3. Add to your compost! Compost piles should consist of a 50/50 mix of “Dry Browns” and “Wet Greens.” Dry Browns are leaves, strips of newspaper, hay or straw, while Wet Greens include kitchen scraps and grass or garden clippings. You can also add paper, eggshells and hair in moderation. Follow the rule “the smaller, the better” when adding ingredients to your compost. Do not add meat, bones, oil, fat, dairy products or feces. This helps to keep away four-legged critters. You should also avoid breads, pastas and nuts as they can hold up the heating, rotting-down process.
  4. Maintain your compost by making sure it stays moist and by shifting the pile around. You may need to add a tarp if it gets too rainy, or add water if it hasn’t rained enough – your compost should feel spongy, not soggy. You should also shift the compost pile around so that it mixes well once a week to keep the compost from clumping and to add air to parts of the compost that haven’t received enough of it. Shifting the pile and keeping your compost moist also prevents ants.
  5. Finally, wait a few months and then harvest your good soil at the bottom of the compost bin! Then spread it around your garden to have the freshest veggies and prettiest flowers on the block. If mosquitoes and other pests are a problem, learn which mosquito repellent plants you may want to include in your garden.

Hint: Keep bugs out of your compost pile by covering your food scraps with a light layer of soil, then a layer (2-4 inches) of Dry Brown material. If that doesn’t work, and mosquitoes and other pests are still taking over your compost pile, your garden, your yard or even the entire neighborhood, check out what Mr. Mister can do to rid you of them!

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