I am brand new to all of this, so patience might be required when chatting with me
As I posted in my introduction post, my husband has agreed to build me a raised garden this year! My dad has been gardening for 3 years now, and started a compost pile last year. I think the idea of making a compost is really neat, but I was wanting to know more about it.
I have read through some of the lists of ingredients, and was wondering what the purpose is of adding ingredients like cardboard, sawdust, etc..
Also, my husband is a Barber in this hick town that we live in, and said he could get me some chicken manuer from his customers if I want some. Is this something I could just add to the compost?
Finally, I was also wondering if it is possible to keep the compost in buckets or maybe a big barrel? My dad has a tarp on the ground with his compost piled ontop of it, but the hubs doesn't want to do it that way if possible.
Thanks for your help!!
Composting is wonderful! It's like magic how you turn garbage and yard wastes into lovely black nutrient rich humus. You would be well served to do some reading in this Composting Forum, there's tons of info already here. This thread: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=201818#201818
has links to several good introductions to composting.
The purpose of the "browns" (sawdust, cardboard, etc) is to balance out the "greens" (manure, kitchen scraps, etc). That is your compost pile to work well needs a balance of browns (high carbon, hard, dry stuff) and greens (high nitrogen, soft, wet stuff). Too much brown and it doesn't do much, just sits there and takes forever to break down. Too much green and it can get all nasty and stinky and slimy. More or less half and half by volume (it's not rocket science, doesn't have to be precise) makes a good balance. And then your finished compost has a good balance of all the nutrients the plants need.
Yup, just add the chicken manure in.
Nope, can't do it in a bucket or barrel. Bucket will be too small. Composting works much better with a good amount of stuff, like preferably a 3 x 3 x3' cube to start with. Barrel isn't aerated enough. Composting is an aerobic process, a bit like slowly burning your organic materials.
So you need a pile of mixed greens and browns, with moisture (it should stay as damp as a wrung out sponge) and air, and some way to contain it, so it stays piled. If you have critters like raccoons and such around, you need a way to keep them out of your pile, too. Most people use some kind of bin, that has plenty of openings for air circulation. They can be purchased or you can make your own. Homemade compost bins are often done with wooden pallets you can get for free.