How To Compost – The Complete Guide
There is a dire need to preserve the environment at this moment. What better way to start the revolution at home than to make your own compost? It will reduce waste and help maintain your garden. The question is – how to compost? This article will cover all you need to know about composting.
What Is Compost?
Before learning how to make compost, we must first know what compost really is.
Compost is a mixture of different types of organic waste, like vegetable peels, seeds, etc. It is also known as a ‘soil conditioner’ since it is rich in nutrients, and when mixed with soil, it acts as a fertilizer.
- The process of Composting is basically the disposal of compost in the soil. In the oxygen-rich conditions of the land, the compost decomposes naturally and acts as manure to the soil.
- The earthworms, bacteria, and other organisms in the soil are the prime decomposers.
What And What Not To Compost
In the process of how to compost, you should have proper knowledge of what and what not to add in it. Although all organic waste decomposes eventually, you should avoid adding some kinds of garbage on the compost due to various reasons.
Fruit and vegetable waste is an excellent compost ingredient. Coffee grains and eggshells are also perfect for adding. But you should avoid adding meat waste to the compost since it takes a long time to decompose, smells terrible, and attracts large animals in the process.
Plant waste, like grass clippings and leaves, are a great compost material. They act as a catalyst in the process of decomposition and also reduce the foul odor as the materials break down. But you should avoid adding perennial weeds to the compost since they regenerate and can spread.
Adding pet manure to compost that will be used in food crops is also a bad idea.
How to Make Compost?
Let us now understand the process of how to make good compost.
Composting is easy if you do it the right way. Before we get into the steps of the process, you must first know that there are two types of composting – hot and cold.
1. Cold Composting
Cold composting is the simple process of gathering all the organic waste from the kitchen, yard, etc. and compiling it into a big heap. Over a year and a half later, the compost will decompose naturally.
2. Hot Composting
Hot composting is for a more serious gardener. It is a faster process. During warm weather, you can create compost in about two to three months. For this type of composting, you need four ingredients – nitrogen, carbon, air, and water.
These items together feed the microorganisms in the soil, which in turn speed up the process of decay.
Steps to Make Your Own Compost
You will have to have enough material to make compost. Gather all the waste and dig a hole at least 3 feet deep. You must have enough waste to fill this hole up.
Here’s some great picks for backyard composters. Although a Compost bin is more comfortable to set up and use, compost is best made on bare earth. Doing so will also effortlessly transfer your compost to your garden soil and allow worms and other organisms to aerate the compost.
Laying The Material
Instead of dumping all the waste in the pit altogether, you should try layering the compost. The first layer should be of twigs and straws. They help prevent drainage.
After laying the first layer properly, alternate between the layers of moist and dry waste. Wet waste includes tea bags, food scraps, seaweed, etc. Dry waste includes straws, paper bags, leaves, etc.
Add nitrogen-rich manure to the compost as it increases the speed of decomposition.
Keep Your Pile Moist
You need to keep watering the compost regularly. Make sure it has the consistency of a damp sponge. Mistakenly adding too much water can waterlog and hence, drown the microorganisms. In such a case, the pile rots instead of decomposing.
The pile should have a warm temperature in the middle. Having a lukewarm center means that the materials are decomposing correctly.
Use a plastic sheet, a plank, or anything else that you can use as a cover on the compost pit.
The cover keeps the moisture and heat locked in, which are the two most essential components for the process of composting. The cover also makes sure that the rain doesn’t overwater the compost. The compost needs to be moist but not soaked.
Stir It Up
Use a shovel or pitchfork to turn your pile of compost once a week. Turning the pile frequently gives it a gush of oxygen and helps fasten the process.
The best time to turn your compost pile is when the middle of the pile starts to feel warm. Stirring the compost also prevents the materials from matting down and producing a foul odor. You may also add more material to this pile and mix all of it.
Benefits Of Composting
Now that we know how to compost let us take a look at all the fantastic benefits Composting has.
1. It’s A Soil Conditioner
Once your compost is ready, you can use it as rich humus for your garden soil. Doing this will add nutrients to your plants and crops and help retain soil moisture.
Now we know why compost is also known as ‘black gold.’
2. Environment Friendly
The waste gets all used up and hence, does not attract insects and diseases.
The manure promotes plant growth, which is, in turn, good for the environment. It also replaces all the chemical fertilizers. Doing this is again, environment friendly.
3. Easy On The Landfills
In many places, the landfills are filling up quickly. Once a dump is out of space, they close it and make more landfills. Composting at home reduces landfill waste and hence, makes them last longer, thus saving land.
A Payback To The Environment
Along with being personally beneficial, composting is a great initiative to pay back the environment. It can reduce the production of waste at a high level and help preserve nature in many direct and indirect ways.
If you’re unable to make your own compost, the market has a wide variety of organic fertilizers that are not very harmful to nature. Here is a perfect guide on organic fertilizers that can help you decide.
We hope this article answered your question of how to compost along with providing you with more necessary and relevant knowledge.