Compost is an organic material that can be added to the soil which provides nutrients and helps the plant to grow. Food scraps, kitchen wastes, peels, wastewater, etc make up more than 30 percent of what is thrown out. Through this blog, I am going to tell you guys about compost and How to compost at home?
Compost is the best way to add organic matter and nutrients to your soil or garden. It’s a simple way to restore nutrients and fertility to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make, and good for the environment. But composting has other benefits. Also, helps keep nitrogen from leaching out of the soil, which can be a problem in many areas.
It improves the soil’s texture, making it easier for plants and soil microorganisms to grow. Read more about is multipurpose compost suitable for vegetables?
What is compost?
Compost is the single most important supplement you can provide to your garden. Basically, Compost is a decomposed organic matter that is further added to the soil to make it more useful for the plants.
It requires 5 main ingredients
1. Carbon-rich material such as dead leaves, bark of trees, straws, broken stems, woodchips, etc.
2. Nitrogen-rich material such as greens, vegetable scraps, grass cuttings, etc.
5. Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi.
The microorganisms feed upon these remains and with the right amount of water and oxygen, they break down the carbon and nitrogen into a simple product that helps the soil retain water and more nutrients. Moreover, it also improves the overall structure of soil and increases the fertility of the soil. All you have to do is to dig a hole in the backyard and fill it with these 5 mentioned above.
Types of composting
there are 3 types of composting that are mentioned below:
In aerobic composting, the matter is decomposed by the microorganisms using oxygen from the surrounding. In other words, this method relies on oxygen for breaking down carbon and nitrogen into a simple product that plants can consume easily.
In anaerobic composting, nature takes care of the ingredients from which the compost is being made. This method is the easiest way for composting. But it is a very stinky and time-taking process. In this method, the carbon-rich (browns) and nitrogen-rich (greens) substances are piled up and left unaided. Over the course of time, it will get decompose to form an organic compost.
Vermicomposting or vermiculture , uses worms like earthworms for the decomposition process. This is simply done to reduce the time taken in the conversion of waste into organic compost. The worms eat the organic material and produce a richer finished product that will supply the nutrients to the soil and the plant eventually.
What can be Composted?
Any organic matter can be composted, but in order to make compost at home, we have to choose some particular organic matter so that it decomposes within months and won’t attract animals or pests.
- Fruit peels
- Vegetable peels
- Used Tea Bags
- Coffee Grounds
- Grass Cuttings
- broken stems
- Dead or broken Leaves
- Shredded Newspaper
- Soiled Cardboard
What can’t be composted?
it is good to know what can be composted but it would be better to know what can’t be composted. As it would do more harm than good. Hence avoid placing this in your compost pile.
- Animal Product. It attracts pests.
- Animal and Human Waste. It contains pathogens.
- Oily foods such as mayonesse. it is difficult to decompose.
- Weeds and their seeds. will grow wherever you place the compost.
- Infected Plant remains. Can spread the infection to other plants through compost.
- Bio-Plastic Product, hard to decompose at home.
How to compost at home in 5 easy steps?
1. Select your food scraps.
If you are wondering where to start then start from fruits and veggies – peels, leaves, etc. Daily used tea bags eggshells, flowers, cuttings, etc. keep in mind that select only those scraps that are mentioned in the above section of what to compost.
Oily foods and animal products are hard to decompose and attract pests respectively. Also, products labeled as compostable such as compostable wipes are a much better deal in industries rather than at home. So exclude them.
2. Store these food scraps
Once you have collected the scraps, store them for a couple of days so you can collect some more and can successfully do the piling process properly.
Store it in a polybag or in the backyard where it doesn’t bother you and others as well. This is the best way to avoid odors and insects in your kitchen.
3. Choose a place to make your compost
For this step, you have to choose a place to make your compost. It can be your backyard, and if you don’t have space at home, you can do it in the community garden as well.
Either way, you can decompose the organic matter in a compost bin. You can easily get in the local market or you can order a compost bin online. Keep in mind that don’t put the compost bin against the wall as it could stain that wall.
4. Make the compost mix
Follow this step to make the compost mix. Preparing the compost mix depends on the layering of the waste organic matter. A good thing to remember is that green materials are wet and brown materials are dry.
Now while layering we have to put the brown material on the bottom and green material on the top. This is done specifically because the brown materials such as dead leaves, broken stems, etc provide excellent air and water circulation. This makes the microorganisms to do their job on the pile efficiently.
Whereas, if the greens are in the bottom you got a soggy, smelly pile. The microorganisms can’t do their work.
Hence, remember while mixing makes sure to put the browns (stem, dead leaves) at the bottom.
5. Wait and Aerate
Keep the pile moist but not too soggy. The moist condition will fasten up the process of decomposition. if it’s hot then it will be ready within 2 months and if it’s cold it will take about 3-4 months. Turn the pile with a pitchfork or something. To keep things going well, you have to move or rotate the pile in the bin. turn the compost once between 7-10 days. Turning maintains the airflow and releases the heat that builds beneath.
if the pile smells foully or bad, it probably means it isn’t decomposing. That’s maybe because your pile is too wet. Use sawdust to absorb the extra moisture and dry it.
What does Finished Compost look like?
You will get to know that compost is ready to use when the pile no longer emits heat, is dark in color, and crumbles on its own. Before you raid your compost bin, it’s important to know that using compost before it’s ready can attract pests and damage plants. Moreover, it will also use up the nutrients from the soil, making the same nutrients unavailable for your garden.
So, to make sure that your compost is ready to use, grab some and look carefully. Mature compost contains the following characteristics:
A texture that is smooth and crumbly. There may be decomposed woody or fibrous pieces in it depending on what you have added to the pile. A smell that’s loamy and sweet like a forest on a wet day. A dark, rich color.
Also, the pile will reduce about one-third of its original amount upon maturing.
How to Use Compost?
- Using compost in the garden is very simple:
- Mix compost into the top several inches of the soil of your garden. You can add it to the containers or pots as well.
- Use a mulch around the trees and shrubs.
- Use a top dressing for lawns.
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Do you need to use a compost bin?
If you are not comfortable making a pile of organic matter in the space where you live then there is an alternate option for you to produce the compost at home which is using a compost bin.
Compost bins are cheap and easy to use. They are specially made to serve the purpose of composting. With composting bin you can easily start composting your organic matter in the back corner of your house.
Moreover, using a bin help to retain the moisture and heat for a very long time which helps in the process of decomposing. Compost bins come in a variety of sizes, colors, and prices. You can buy it from any local store or order it online. Place your bin so that it can be protected from strong winds.
Benefits of using compost in the yard and garden
Compost is a great soil additive. Once your compost is ready to use, add it to your soil at any time of year. It can improve moisture retention, enhance fertility, reduce weed growth, provide beneficial microbes to promote plant health and act as a mulch to protect soil from extreme temperatures or drought.
You’ll save time and money on watering. Better soil structure: more organic matter in your soil means more air pockets for water and nutrients to travel unimpeded. Improved nutrient levels: compost is high in the ‘big three’ nutrients needed by garden vegetables—nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Finished compost is safe for your garden and water. It doesn’t cause pollution or plant burnings. But just a few inches of compost is enough to keep your garden in good condition. You can make your own compost and get even more from it.