Many people are not aware of how to make compost in the garden, but it’s easier than you might think.
Composting is a great way to save money and reduce landfills. It is a process of breaking down organic materials
Compost is decomposed organic material created when microorganisms in soil break down waste, resulting in a mineral-rich product that is good for use in gardens. It’s given to the ground at any time of year without causing plant burns or water pollution.
What is compost?
Composting is breaking down organic matter, such as food scraps and yard waste, into a rich soil amendment that can be used to improve the health of your garden. Composting reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills; it also saves you money on fertilizer and improves the overall health of your plants.
Home composting helps enhance the production of plants and landscapes by turning leftovers, garbage, and unwanted extras into healthy soil. Composting is pretty straightforward: Layer organic materials with a handful of dirt to get the best soil booster.
There are two main types of composting: hot and cold. Hot composting is the quickest method, but it requires more effort. Cold composting is slower, but it is much easier to maintain.
Hot composting is the quickest way to produce rich compost. The key to success is maintaining a balance of material that will decompose quickly, such as fresh grass clippings, with material that breaks down more slowly, such as dead leaves. It would help to balance green (nitrogen-rich) and brown material (carbon-rich) materials. Too much of either one will slow down the process.
To hot compost successfully, you need to turn your pile regularly to aerate it and keep it from getting too wet or too dry. The hot compost piles should be about as moist as a wrung-out sponge.
Cold composting is the easiest method of composting, but it takes longer to produce finished compost. It is best suited for complex materials to break down, such as woody prunings from shrubs and trees.
To cold compost successfully, you need to layer your material in a bin or heap, with the heaviest and most difficult-to-decompose materials on the bottom and the lighter, more easily decomposed materials on top. You also need to ensure that your heap does not get too wet.
What makes suitable materials to compost?
Compost comprises decomposed organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps. The key to making rich compost is to have a good mix of “green” and “brown” materials.
Green materials are high in nitrogen and include grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. Brown materials are high in carbon and have things like dead leaves, twigs, and shredded newspaper.
The ideal ratio of greens to browns is about 30:1. So for every 30 parts green material, you’ll want 1 part brown material (30 parts carbon for each part nitrogen by weight). This ratio will help ensure that your compost pile stays moist (but not too wet), aerated (but not too dry), and doesn’t start to smell bad.
If your compost heap starts to smell bad, it likely has too much green material and not enough brown material. If this happens, you can add more brown material to the mix.
What’s the best way to compost at home?
There are many ways to compost at home, but using a bin or tumbler is the easiest.
Bins are enclosed containers where you can put your compostable materials. Tumblers are bins with a mechanism that allows you to turn them, which speeds up the composting process quickly.
Both bins and tumblers come in various sizes, so you can choose one that will fit your needs. A small chest or tumbler will be sufficient if you have a small yard. If you have a larger yard or generate a lot of compostable material, you may want to choose a larger container or tumbler.
Pick A Location And Type Of Compost Bin
You can use an open pile or a compost bin. Bins have the benefits of being tidy, keeping animals out, and retaining heat. Compost bins are available for purchase, or you can make your own. The size and style of the container you buy will determine the amount of biodegradable waste you create.
It’s better to put it in a flat, well-drained area so that any extra water quickly drains away. Having good drainage also makes it easier for worms to get in and start dissolving the material.
To turn or not to turn
A common debate amongst composters is whether or not to turn the compost. Turning aerates the compost and speeds up the decomposition process, but it can be challenging if you have a giant bin or tumbler.
If you’re using a bin, you’ll need to turn it to aerate the compost every few days. If you’re using a tumbler, you’ll need to turn it in every day or two.
If you don’t want to turn your compost, you can let it sit and decompose on its own. This process will take longer, but it is much easier than turning the compost regularly.
Don’t Forget The Water
Water the pile regularly so that it is damp. If you give the pile too much water, the microorganisms will drown.
To make sure that your composting is going well, use a thermometer to check the temperature of the material. Otherwise, the material will rot instead of composting.
When adding new material, be careful to include it in the bottom levels. Using a garden fork, flip the pile once a week to feed it with oxygen throughout the growing season.
When the pile’s core feels warm or a thermometer reads between 130 and 150°F, it’s time to flip the compost. Stirring the compost helps it cook faster and prevents the material from matting and stench.
The final compost will be dark, crumbly, and smell earthy. You should have finished compost four to six months after starting your bin.
When the compost no longer emits heat, it is thoroughly cooked and ready for the garden.
Remove all completed compost from the compost bin and leave the incomplete items to decompose.
Before using your compost, be sure the decomposition process is complete; otherwise, organisms in the compost might extract nitrogen from the garden soil and damage plant development.
How long does it take to make compost?
It takes about six to eight weeks to make compost, depending on the size of your pile and the type of composting method you use. The more you mix and turn your compost, the faster it will break down.
What should I put in my compost pile?
You can compost most kitchen scraps, including fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, and nutshells. You can also add yard waste to your compost piles, such as leaves, grass clippings.
What should not be put in my healthy compost pile?
To be able to the most efficient compost, you need to remember never to put in anything that has bones (chicken, turkey), meats of any kind, cheese, eggs, or dairy products.
Final thoughts on how to make compost in the garden
The single most essential supplement you can provide your plants is compost. It’s a quick and easy way to add nutrient-dense soil to your lawn or garden.
It promotes plant development and revitalizes depleted soil. It’s also free, simple to create, and environmentally friendly. Composting provides several advantages. You’re making rich soil for your lawn and garden with compost.
This provides nutrients to your plants while also assisting in retaining soil moisture. Composting can reduce the amount of wasted household trash from the landfill and make healthy soil.
This is significant because organic waste in landfills lacks the oxygen it needs to decay fast. Instead, it produces damaging methane gas when it decomposes, hastening global warming and climate change.
Compost contains microscopic organisms that aerate the soil, break down organic compounds for plant use, and protect plants from illness. Compared to lawns and garden beds, composting is a natural alternative to artificial fertilizers. Compost promotes soil fertility and encourages plants to establish strong roots.
There’s no need to add fertilizer; incorporate compost into the soil. Compost includes nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium that plants require for optimal development. It’s also an excellent micronutrient source, including boron, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc, needed in modest amounts.