Beyond Landscaping


How to Create Compost and Fertilize Your Yard



Stimulate plant growth and revitalize infertile soil by using compost you create. Composting is s practical fertilization method using recycled organic materials to enrich the soil of your yard or garden. Follow the steps below for how to create compost as a green alternative to chemical supplements.

7-Step Compost Creation

Pick a suitable location for your compost enclosure or container. Bare earth allows worms and microorganisms to aerate the mixture easily.

Lay straw, twigs or hay for a carbon-rich foundation. These bulky materials aid drainage and allow air to circulate to encourage microbial function.

Layer moist and dry compost materials, uniformly. Dry materials such as wood chips and shredded leaves trigger decomposition with carbon. Moist materials such as vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings provide nitrogen for microbial growth. Altogether, your layers shouldn’t exceed 8 inches tall.

Activate your compost pile with enzymes and nitrogen from household materials and other organic matter. Coffee grounds are perfect for the job, and most people have them in abundant supply. You can even throw in the filter.

Keep the mixture damp. When you squeeze a handful of the organic material, allow only a couple drops of water should come out.

Prevent excess moisture by covering your pile. Wood or plastic sheeting works efficiently to retain heat and prevent materials from clumping.

Regularly turn your pile once it reaches 110°F. If you’re adding new material, turn every 4-5 weeks. If not, every 5-6 weeks. This process increases oxygen and ensures fast breakdown.

The Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio in Composting

The composting ratio between carbon (brown materials) and nitrogen (green materials). When adding to your compost bin always keep in mind that a ratio of 2 parts brown material to 1 part green material. Brown material consists of dead leaves, hay/straw or sawdust. Green materials are grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps.

If there is too much nitrogen in your compost, the temperature can get too high killing the bacteria needed to convert the materials into usable fertilizer. Never put dog and cat manure into your compost or any meat products as they will only attract pests you don’t want in or around your yard.


Fertilizer Uses and Considerations

Gardeners experienced in composting know the many uses and benefits of homemade fertilizer. Try using compost in the following ways:

Mulch – Adding a top layer of compost material protects exposed soil from excessive heat and aids moisture retention during the summer. Use this technique around trees, flowers, and growing vegetables.

Mobile Garden Starter – Position your compost pile where a future garden might be started. Within a year, it will enrich the soil and give you a fertile garden plot.

Potting Mix Component – Blend a little compost into your potting mix to boost potted plants with additional nutrients.

Avoid expensive chemicals and their harmful effects by taking advantage of the many uses of compost. Remember, compost is a soil supplement and fertilizer. It supplies all growing plants with additional nutrients.

Your garden bed and yard require basic growing mediums as well. Sprinkle it over your yard and watch your lawn turn into a lush landscape over the years. Collect organic materials from your yard and kitchen to start create compost today.

Beyond Landscaping can help with plant selection, landscape design and/or installation. Take a peek at our portfolio or request a free quote today!