Building a Compost Pile – Family Plot


Tonya, glad you’re here today. We here to talk
about composting. Here’s the thing
about composting. A lot of people want to do it, but they don’t
know how to do it. So, you’re gonna help
us out today, right? – Yes. – Alright, so why do
people compost anyway? – Well, there’s
different reasons. You can make
composting as simple or as complex as
you want it to be. – [Chris] Okay. – I go for the simple method. You just put everything
in a pile and let it rot. – [Chris] Okay. – And the reason I do it is
for environmental reasons. I don’t like to see
plastic bags full of leaves sitting out on the curb to
be taken to the landfill. – [Chris] Right. – So, my goal is just to not put biodegradable things in a
landfill in a plastic bag. But, for people who
are more serious about composting
and plan to use it in their garden,
it’s a fantastic way to make your own
nutrient-rich soil amendment. It has free fertilizer for you. In fact, it contains
all of the 22 essential macro and micro
nutrients that plants need to survive. – [Chris] Okay. – Let’s think
about it like this. In a regular bag of fertilizer, you might have your
nitrogen, your phosphorus, potassium, and maybe
a few trace elements. But, when you put
parts of a plant that was alive,
you know for a fact that that plant
contained every single macro and micro nutrient
needed to survive. So, you know that in
your compost pile, you’re going to get
out every single macro and micro
nutrient that you need to make your plants live. And that’s a great
reason to compost. Also, when you put
it in your soil as an amendment, it
helps with pore space, opens up the pore space,
allows air and water to transfer in and
out to the roots. So, those are some
really good reasons. – Those are good things. Yeah, ’cause you’re
not going to find that with your commercial
fertilizers, that’s for sure. Okay, now what do we
add to compost piles? Or what shouldn’t we
add to compost piles? – Okay, well simple
things to add would be kitchen scraps. – [Chris] Okay. – Like when you’re
chopping up your vegetables to cook, the ends
and the carrot tops and any kind of thing like that. What you don’t want to put from your kitchen are
things that have already been cooked. – [Chris] Okay. – You don’t want to put
any kind of bread product or any kind of meat in there. You strictly want to
do your vegetables. You can do eggshells. That’s not a problem,
but I wouldn’t do dairy or anything like that. Also from your yard,
you’ve got free material out there as well. Your fall leaves that are
about to hit the ground. – [Chris] That’s right. – Just put them into a big pile would be simple enough, but you can use
your fall leaves. And then in the summer time, when you’re cutting your yard, you use grass clippings. If you have one of
those bag attachments that already goes
on your lawnmower, that’s a great thing. Or maybe you have a
mulching lawnmower, but at our house, sometimes we wait a little too
long between cuttings, and we still have some
clippings laying on the ground. – [Chris] Okay. – You just rake those up
and put it in the bin. – Okay, yeah those are real good things to use
’cause I’m like you, I hate to see all
the leaves just piled up, you know, plastic bags on the side of the curb. – The thing to– – Corn. – Yeah, the thing
to look for though, what you don’t want to put in, if you are cleaning
out your garden, you can put in things
in your compost pile from your garden. You want to make
sure though that you don’t put in
anything that has diseased plant parts. I’m thinking tomato
plants if your tomato plants had a disease. Or if you have an
insect infestation on your plant, you don’t want to introduce the insects
into your compost pile. That’s pretty obvious. You don’t want to
put things like the things you pick
up from your dog should not go in there. – [Chris] Like their waste. – People ask about manures, and you can use manure
in your compost pile, but you want it to be thoroughly rotted before you put
that on your garden. I’m talking like a year. And then if you use
a compost-based, a manure-based compost
in your garden, you want to give a 120
day harvest interval. That means you want
to wait 120 days from the time you
put it on until the time you harvest
your vegetable. And I’d be especially careful if you’re growing root
vegetables in it. – [Chris] Sure, I would, yeah. Okay. – So those are some of the dos and don’ts
of what can go in. – Well what about weeds? – No. – No weeds in the compost pile? – I think weeds that have
gone to seed especially, you don’t want to
introduce weed seeds into your bin. – Okay. Now, how hot do we need to get that compost pile
so we can burn up some of those weed seeds and some of these other
things you’re talking about? – Well, if you do
get some weed seeds and diseased plant
parts in there, you need to get
your compost pile to about 131 degrees,
between 131 and 170 degrees hot, that
hot to be able to start killing off some weed seeds. And it depends,
I’ve seen research, it depends on what kind
of weed seeds you have. Like, different weeds
dies at different temperatures and
lengths of time. So, I can’t really
say it has to be this for this many hours because it just depends, but it needs to be at least 131 degrees
for at least three days and then the longer the better. And I can tell
you that it can be kinda difficult
here to really get a hot compost pile. The reason is because we get our grass clippings and the things that really heat up
your pile, seasonally. So, it can be a challenge
to get your pile hot enough to kill
the weed seeds. – Okay. Alright, you want
to get us started? – Sure. – Let’s see how this
thing works, okay? – Okay well here,
we’re going to have a two pile system. And this is fantastic
because this means that what we get out, we
can use in our garden. What would happen
if we just pile everything in just one big pile and kept adding to the top is all of our good stuff
would be on the bottom. We couldn’t ever get it out. So, what we’re going to do is build a pile. The ideal pile is going
to be three feet tall, three by three by three. – [Chris] Okay. – And then when we get it
the right height, we stop. – [Chris] Okay, we stop. – And we let it decompose and we start putting our
fresh stuff in the other bin. So, that’s what
we’re going to do. And we have some wonderful
fall leaves here. – Yeah, got the leaves. – And these are going to be
late fall leaves, browns. – [Chris] Okay, we’ll
just dump them in there. – This is going to be our
carbon rich additives here. Rich in carbon. And then we also
need to add some some greens or things
rich in nitrogen. – Okay. – And we have some
wonderful things here. – [Chris] Kitchen scraps. – Kitchen scraps. All sorts of stuff. And I’m going to kind of
put these in the center. – [Chris] Okay. – If you are worried
about attracting pests to your compost pile, just kind of bury
your kitchen scraps, and that should
take care of that. So, we’re going to
kind of put these there in the middle. – [Chris] In the middle. Just throw them in there! – And you don’t
have to buy a fancy compost crock to put on
your kitchen counter. Any kind of a sealable
container like this is fine. And something with a lid. – [Chris] Oh. – I know. – Banana peels and all
that good stuff, okay. – Yeah, and so then, let’s
see what else we have. We have some grass clippings. Fantastic. – Yeah. – And the grass
clippings will give us a good supply of nitrogen, and grass clippings
break down super fast. They’ll really, really
start to heat the thing up. – [Chris] And we’re going
to put that on top, right? Okay. – [Tonya] Uh huh. (rustling) – Break that open. There we go. Yeah. – [Tonya] Okay. – [Chris] Yeah. – And then we have
some clippings from our garden here. – Okay. – Not clippings but
older plants from– – Actual plants. – The season, yeah. Alright. – Oh, she just
tosses that in there. – Just toss it in. – Toss it in. – Now, what you need to do is to get your compost pile going, mix everything up. – [Chris] Okay. – [Tonya] And this
is what I use. Just kinda like a pitchfork. Just kinda shove some
of that back in there. – Tonya, have you
done this before? – [Tonya] Yes. – [Chris] Looks like you
know what you’re doing. (rustling) – [Tonya] And you want
to turn your compost pile ideally, if you
want to try to do a hot compost pile,
ideally you want to turn it every week. – Okay, every week. – You also need to add water. We don’t have the hose out here with us today, but you know you have
the water right if you reach in and feel, feels like a damp sponge. – [Chris] Okay. – You don’t want it
soaking wet all the time, but it needs to
be a little moist. – Okay, let me ask you this. So how do we know when
it’s ready though? – Well, your pile’s going
to shrink a whole lot, and when it’s ready, you aren’t going to be able
to tell what was a tomato and what was a leaf. It’s not going to smell, and it’s going to look like
just really good potting soil. Look like dirt. – Alright, that’s what we want
at the end of the day, right? – Got this little
gizmo to show you. This is another
compost pile turner. When you stick it in,
these goes like this when you pull it out. – [Chris] Fancy. – The reason you want to turn it is to allow for aeration
to get in there. If it’s not aerated, you
can get yucky smells. You can also get
some aeration going by putting a pretty large limb in the center of it
to open things up. – [Chris] Just open it up. – There’s that. And then you can also
get a thermometer, compost thermometer
to stick in there. Of course, ours isn’t
going to be hot. But it’ll tell you low,
medium or hot on there and the temperature so you can see if you’re getting
it hot enough to kill any weed seeds. – Alright, well Tonya,
we appreciate that demo. You know, folks really
get into composting now. Thank you much. – Yeah, thank you. – Alright.

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