How to Make a Perfect Compost Pile

For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Jan 25

Your Questions About Gardening

George asks…

Suggest materials to make a raised bed with that are long lasting, and that can be recycled from trash?

Pretty please?

I want to build a raised bed garden, but I am doing it on a shoestring (no actual money, just a nasty old shoestring). I am looking for at least 140 linear feet of material. The wall will be around 10 inches tall, so it should be something that can either be easily cut down with normal tools, or that can be stacked that high somehow. The material shouldn’t leach any toxic whateverz into the soil, as the plants will be vegetables.

Thanks guys!

GardenersCardiff answers:

I use old tanks from an out-of-business seafood store. The drains mean a ready-made drainage system, and I didn’t even bother to clean the insides, since the fish waste makes good fertilizer.

Plus, they’re up on legs, about waist-high, making it easier to work ‘em, especially for my sweetie, who has physical problems and doesn’t bend over so easily.

Eight bucks apiece plus twenty dollars to a fella with a pickup truck to bring them to my house.

Mark asks…

How do I make a homemade composting bin?

I’ve looked at composting bins online and the prices are steep for a a house of college students, ranging from 150-200$. I was wondering if anyone knew how to construct one for a lesser cost.
A slat wood built bin?, Can one just be made out of a large rubbermaid bin? Other ideas?

GardenersCardiff answers:

Good Evening ShyGirl,

I was always to poor to know any other way. I have been gardening for 60 years. I don’t know why people love to spend so much money on gardens. I use nothing but natural ingredients. I use no chemicals or pestcides. I think people forget they eat whatever they put on their plants or in the soil. My garden is 20×20 ft, and I have nine (9) rare fruit trees. You see why I have two 55 gal compost drums.

You sound like you need help on making a good compost bin. Since you are new at compost, it may be easier for you to start with a plastic bin. A 32 gal is just find.

Make sure your bin is away from the house. Compost bins will give off odors. Cut out the bottom and add holes around the sides. You must vent the sides. Place four inch bricks shaped like the letter “I_I” or V” on the ground. Place your bin on the top of the bricks. You can shovel compost out of the open end of the bricks when your compost is ready.

Layer in your soil, your vegetable and grass cuttings, dead plants, egg shells, and coffee grounds. I do not use other materials because they can draw mice, and the smell is bad. Never use meat or cooking oils. I mix my compost with chicken manure. Chicken manure is by far the best. Therefore add chicken manure every (about 2 cups) few inches. Keep the mixture lightly moist. You will never buy soil again. A 1cu. Ft. Of chicken fertilizer will cost about $4. The plastic can will cost about $20.

Do not use wood of any type. Wood will draw termites in the summer in certain areas of the country. It does not take them to long to find wood and dirt. I hope I helped. Good luck to you and your family, from Los Angeles.

Lizzie asks…

How long does it take from seed to sprout?

I am new to this, and get some flowers seeds from target store, and plant in my backyard, how long can I see it out of soil? I am in CA, temp near 70F.

What kind of flower is most easy to be cultivated? wildflower?

GardenersCardiff answers:

I’m guessing that there alot of things that might be easier for you to grow from seed in CA than they are for me in WI but I’m going to give you some sure fire ones because that’s what makes starting your first garden so much fun and it makes you want to learn and do more. I recommend Cosmos, Marigolds, Zinnias, Nasturtiums, Morning Glories (if you want a climber), Sweet Alyssum and annual Candytuft. These are all annuals but most, if not all of them will probably self sow in CA. It’s nice to start a new garden with annuals especially from seed because you haven’t made a huge commitment of money or space before you’ve learned exactly what you want. All of the plants I suggested come in a wide variety of heights and colors and all are vigorous and reliable. Follow the seed packet instructions for planting depth and remember to keep the soil moistened but not wet. I sprinkle my seeds lightly at least every day, twice if it’s very warm or windy. Some of these seeds sprout very quickly and the packet will give you some information on that as well though I find that mine usually sprout sooner than the estimate. Good luck and enjoy! I love a new garden!

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How to Make a Perfect Compost Pile