Gardening Texoma: Starting a Compost Pile

By: Nicole Holt Email
By: Nicole Holt Email

Gardening Texoma: Starting a Compost Pile

I. Location
a) Try for afternoon shade.
b) Close to a water source

II. Do the pile method. You place organic matter in a pile.

III. What is compost made of? If it’s made of decomposable carbon, use it. (High in carbon)
a) Lots of weeds: roots and all tall ornamental grasses and trimming around the property.
b) Use a mix of dry and green material.
c) Dry: Twigs, straw, leaves, okra, and corn stalks.
d) Green: Weeds that have been pulled up, grass clippings, trimmings from limbs or existing vegetables, or other green plants (i.e. annual color)
e) 3 layers to start compost. Be sure to use super carbons such as molasses and some bagged or fresh steer manure and alfalfa meal.
IV. Wet the compost pile religiously. Soak it, the first time. Don’t flood it, but make it completely wet.
We want to create an environment that is comfortable for our micro-organisms, microscopic plants, animals, and fungi. All of these guys will be our decomposing team.
Last, add some of the soil from the 3” removed to power start your decomposing team.

V. Keep adding to your pile over time.
VI. In about 6 months you will be able to harvest from your pile.
a) Turn your pile every month once to add oxygen.
b) Woody twigs will 1-2 years to completely break down.
c) Never add cat/dog waste to pile due to the possible presence of disease/parasites. Cow, horse, bird (i.e. chicken) waste is wonderful.
VII. When is it ready? When you cannot distinguish one particle (grass) from another (vegetable cuttings).
VIII. Use the compost and prosper.

Happy Gardening!

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