The soil in your yard is constantly being drained of its nutrients, fertilizers, and moisture as your plants, lawn, and garden landscaping grow each season. Each year as your plants die and their dead vegetation falls onto the soil, it adds back essential nutrients to the soil, but your soil can benefit from extra help you can give it with the compost you can make in your backyard. Here are some tips to help you start up and build your composting pile to add nutrients back to your soil.

Select a Compost Area

When you choose to begin a compost pile, it is important to select a designated area where you will collect and combine the materials. Here on this site the materials you add will become broken down from healthy microorganisms to create the nutrient-dense compost. It is important to select a site that is exposed to the sun, which will heat the pile and begin the natural decomposition process to break down the composting materials.

You can choose a three-foot by three-foot corner of your garden or buy a pre-made black plastic compost bin. You can find bins that sit upon the ground or others that sit above the ground for you to rotate their contents and stir the compost.

Add Composting Materials

Collect and add materials to your composting pile that are from your yard and home. Collect peelings from fruits and vegetables, old produce from your kitchen that you didn't get to eat in time before it has gone bad, and coffee grounds. Place a collection bucket in your kitchen for you to place these peelings. You can put eggshells into your composting, but they take a bit more time to break down than produce scraps. You can also add lawn clippings from your yard into your compost pile.

Be sure to layer the above materials with dry materials, such as dead leaves, wood chips, shredded paper, and sawdust from untreated wood. These dry materials combined with the wet materials will mix to produce a compost pile that is slightly moist to promote the good microorganism growth, which breaks down the materials.

Manage the Pile

Once you have your pile created and as you continue to add to it, stir your pile periodically with a shovel or pitchfork to combine the materials. Also, make sure the pile remains slightly moist. If it becomes too dry or too soggy, the microorganisms will die off, and your pile will start to smell bad and not become beneficial compost. You can check the temperature of your compost by pushing your hand into its interior: the materials in the pile should feel warm to touch.

Once the pile begins to be black in color and look like dark soil, it is ready to add to your vegetation and backyard plants.