Gardeners' gold. Black gold. Call it what you like, but a good supply of compost may be the most beneficial---and free---item used to keep your plants growing healthfully. Recycle some key ingredients, follow some basic steps, and in very little time, you will have a great natural resource at your disposal.
Compost Fertilizer Recipe
Gather your materials. Collect brown materials from your yard, such as leaves, wheat straw or hay. Save kitchen waste and grass clippings to serve as the green materials for your compost. According to Columbia County Extension Agent Charles Phillips, "The green materials are high in nitrogen but low in carbon and the brown materials are just the opposite." It's the combination of these elements, under the right conditions, that actually makes the compost.
Mix things up. Store your materials in a large container. "One that is made from wire and is about 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall is ideal," Phillips said. Compost also generates faster in bigger piles, as they produce more heat. Look for materials to seep down in about two to three weeks. Take note of when the material stops moving. When it does, toss the pile around with a pitchfork.
Let it grow. Continue to toss the compost pile every two to three weeks. Doing so loosens the oxygen. Proper air circulation is critical to making compost, according to Phillips, "because most of the organisms that foster decomposition need air."
Water your materials. Provide ample water for your compost. "You don't want it excessively wet, but not completely dry, because fungi will not grow when it's dry," Phillips explained. It takes about seven to eight months for the materials to completely decompose and turn into compost.