Make it yourself Garden Soil

We can see that nature does an excellent job regenerating itself as soon as you step foot into the forest. The squirrels dont scurry around pushing the fertilizer sticks around the plant, so why do we think its nessisary. it’s a natural regrowth, and if you pay attention to commons sense anyone can do it. (besides its frugal, and think of all the money you will save if your just reusing what you have)

how can you recreate this in your backyard?

Choose a composting container

You can make or buy your compost bin as both work relatively the same. You will need to rotate the materials with either a pitch fork or a mechanism built in. and you will need holes in the sides to helps airate the soil. As you are harvesting your new soil you will need both warmth and moisture. make sure you construct your container where there is plenty of sun, and a lid to protect from heavy rainfalls. Its also important to place the container in a location that you can easily and willingly get to. The very back of the yard amongst the wild overgrowth is not a good choice, especially if you are not willing to truck your materials out there if the weather is unpleasant. This is exactly where my bin resides, and i will be moving it closer to the house asap.

my personal favorites:

a tumbler from Natural Collection removes the need to get in there and mix it up yourself

Homemade wine barrel composting bin

Build nutrient rich soil with a combination of carbon and nitrogen.

Yes it sounds like a lot of work, and not organic at all but its easy.. carbon is found in shredded newspapers, cardboard and straw. nitrogen is something all plants contain, so you are essentially growing plants from plants.

Nitrogen (green)

  • Barnyard manure
  • Coffee grounds
  • Flowers
  • Fruit & vegetable trimmings
  • Grass clippings
  • Green leaves
  • Sod
  • Weeds
Carbon (brown)

  • Ash – small amounts
  • Bread
  • Coffee filters
  • Dry leaves
  • Eggshells
  • Hair
  • Lint
  • Paper with no ink,small amounts
  • Sawdust
  • Straw
  • Tea leaves with bags
  • Wood shavings
Basically, feed your soil with items that are safe and healthy for yourself. Avoid any materials treated with chemicals.
Before these items reach your compost pile you will need to help the process by breaking it all into smaller bits. For the food scraps we collect them in a stainless steel bucket, and every few days use a fancy-smancy handheld chopper. For the paper, i collect all my daughters scrap paper clippings in a basket at the back door.
Do NOT compost
  • Bones
  • Butter
  • Cat litter
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Diapers
  • Diseased plants
  • Dog or cat feces
  • Fish
  • Greasy foods
  • Invasive weeds
  • Lard
  • Meat
  • Milk products
  • Oils
  • Peanut butter
  • Salad dressing
  • Sour cream
  • Unchopped woodywaste
  • Vegetable oil

Follow this recipe to create a balance.

Brown stuff 50-70% + Green stuff 30-50% + Black stuff 0-5% (Dirt, Old compost) + Water (Damp sponge consistency) + Air (Open sided bin, turning pile)

alway cover the ‘green’ materials with brown, as they are the source of the odor in your compost pile, and if they are clumped too much together they just rot. which is bad. this can kill your composts nutrients.

some handy troubleshooting tips from lawrence recycles:

The heap is wet + smells like rotten eggs.
  • Not enough air.
  • Pile too wet.
Turn it, add coarse, dry wastes such as straw or shredded newspaper.
The center is dry + contains tough, woody wastes.
  • Not enough water in pile.
  • Too woody.
Turn and moisten; add fresh green wastes; chop or shred.
The heap is damp + warm right in the middle, but nowhere else.
  • Pile is too small
  • Too dry.
Collect more material and mix into a new pile, moisten.
The heap is damp + sweet-smelling, but will not heat up.
  • Lack of nitrogen in pile.
  • Compost is done!
Mix in fresh grass clippings or nitrogen fertilizer.

Use homegrown soil in your garden

there are many different ways to add this new soil to your gardens.

If you are planting new seeds, dig your hole, drop the new dirt (the deep black soil you made from your compost bin) in the bottom of the hole. This will give the roots direct access to the nutrients. drop in the seeds or plant. cover with loose soil. and top with a man made mulch of woodchips, dried grass clippings or straw.

If your plants have already started to grow you can add a heaping of the black soil around the roots of the plants. You can also dig a small trench close to the plant, and drop in the gunk right from the kitchen compost bin.

about that mulch i mentioned…

You can and should protect your seedlings with a light layer of mulch. its like a protective barrier so nothing harmful gets in, and it deters weed from growing. If you are starting a fall garden especially, this layer will help keep the soil warm as the more bacteria that grows the more heat it produces. dont ask why… i cant explain.

I know your thinking its too late to start all this, but its never too late. just before the first snowfall i throw a few layers on the garden, to tide it over til the spring thaw. a layer of compost, layer of grass clippings, and then the leaves from the lawn of which i have a huuge excess that im completely willing to share.


One response to “Make it yourself Garden Soil

  1. great composter information.

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