This garden is coordinated by the Churchill Park Community Garden Collective a group of gardeners and community volunteers. We look forward to the upcoming season and hope that you will join our garden community. Please feel free to explore this website for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact us at garden@opirg.ca.

June 20, 2012

Making your own Compost

 Over the weekend, the garden gained three new compost bins (pictured to the left and below); two are made using purchased brackets and cedar wood, while the third is made from recycled skids. We all know that compost is useful, but until recently I had very little idea of the best way to create useable and effective compost, which is what led me to researching this blog post.

            My first question, was posed at the beginning of the summer: what can you use to make a composter? And the answer to this surprised me, as you can use almost anything. Old garbage cans with holes on the top and bottom to let air through, wooden composter made from planks of wood or skids, even small pails with lids can work. If DIY isn’t your style, you can also buy fairly large composters for less than $100 from most hardware stores.
            Having decided that the previously mentioned examples would be the most cost-effective, the next question is what exactly should go in it, in order to create the best compost Once again, I was astounded at the great number of organic materials that can be put in them.  Everything from old tea bags to fruits and veggies to garden waste can be added to the pile, so instead of making a list of all the things you can compost I decided to make a list of the things you can’t.
1.     Nonbiodegradable materials (i.e. plastics)
2.     Animal Droppings (if the animals are carnivores, herbivore manure can actually make pretty good compost)
3.     Animal products (i.e. meat, fat, oil, cheese, etc.)
4.     Nondried weeds and diseased plants (NOTE: these can be composted if they are older and won’t leave seeds in the compost)
5.     Sod

When adding materials to the composter its important to keep a balance between brown and green (where brown is dead plants and green is newer plants). Keeping the pile warm and wet enough for decomposition is also a key ingredient, as is turning the pile with a pitchfork every few weeks. Following these steps over the summer will hopefully give us useable compost by September or early next year. 
Compost is an important component of successful organic gardening and its even better when you can make it for yourself. If you want to know more about composting stay tuned as later in the season we will be hosting a workshop on how to compost at home. 

Happy gardening!

 My name's Laura Crump and I'm a third year student in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. I've been gardening my whole life but this is my first year at Churchill Park Community Garden. I'm really looking forward to working here this summer, 2012.

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