What is composting?
Any organic material that can be added to the soil to improve its fertility status and help plants grow faster can be referred to as compost. It is one of the most important garden based ingredients that you could add to the soil to help plants grow quicker. It is also a simple way of creating soil that is rich in nutrients and it is also good for the environment as it helps minimize waste. The natural process in which organic material gradually breaks down to become compost is called ‘decomposing’ which acts as a means of creating a soil conditioner.
What are the benefits of composting and why should you make compost at home?
Composting has a very positive impact on the environment and here are some reasons why you should consider composting at home.
- Replenishes the soil. Compost is often referred to as ‘black gold’ or ‘nature’s antidote’ because it is a very natural and organic solution to help even weakened soil regain its nutrient level. Composting helps you in being able to create ‘humus’ for your outdoor area or yard which acts to improve the fertility of the soil and allows it to retain water content better.
- Brings down waste levels: One of the reasons why composting is so popular is because it minimizes the wastage that takes place in any household or domestic area. Most of what is thrown outside a kitchen can be used to create healthy compost. That way, it is able to recycle something that would otherwise have been useless.
- Good for the environment: Typically, large heaps of waste need to be dumped somewhere and often wide expanses of land are chosen to throw away waste. This results in virtual eye-sores being created where mountains of trash are piled which are unpleasant to look at. These are horrible for the environment as well because they produce toxins and become a breeding ground for diseases. Composting offers an effective solution to landfill sites by reusing waste by putting it into the ground and turning it into something productive.
What should you include in your compost?
Most waste materials that are suitable to compost are typically carbon-based or nitrogen-based compounds. Both of which are elements that are key to plants being able to grow. Including enough of both nitrogen-based and carbon-based materials is what will help you create the most useful compost for your garden. While it is true that most things will make good compost, you want to use materials that decompose quickly.
Carbon helps keep compost fluffy.
Most plant-based remains are carbon-based in nature such as stems, branches, leaves, peels of fruits, pellets, paper bags, newspapers, corn stalks, twigs, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, vegetable waste and other items which can easily and quickly break down. These carbon-based organic materials are what will help give compost its thick, fluffy and viscous texture. You cannot have compost which doesn’t make use of such organic materials, it simply won’t be useful at all.
A resourceful pile of compost should have more of carbon-based materials but also a little bit of nitrogen-based content often called ‘greens’. This mostly includes anything you can round up from the kitchen as waste such as food scraps and raw materials. It also includes manure and grass clippings from your lawn! This helps create a compost that is fresh and lasts longer. When confused about how much of nitrogen-based or carbon-based materials to use, remember that carbon is more important for compost. You should at least have twice as much carbon content compared to nitrogen content in your compost. The carbon material is what will keep organisms deep down in the ground to break down mass and begin the process of decomposing. Meanwhile, nitrogen is needed for nutrients and creating a dense pool of compost.
Greens that can be used in composting.
The point is that you need to effectively be able to balance the ratio of carbon and nitrogen content. You need to have more of ‘browns’ and less of ‘greens’ in your compost. If you’re confused about whether or not you have enough carbon content, don’t hesitate to add more. While plants do need nitrogen in compost to be able to grow well, it is useless if there isn’t enough carbon for the decomposing process to begin. Don’t forget to add enough water to your compost so that there is enough moisture for organic matter to be broken down by microorganisms.
Biological compost waste.
How can you compost at home?
Now that you know what to include in your compost, your next step should be considering where to create your composting pile. While an outdoor place is preferred for composting, you can even choose to compost indoors. For outdoor composting, choose a spot that is close to water or with access to your hose
where you can begin the composting process.
Choose the browns and greens that you want to include in your compost and make sure that they are broken down into smaller pieces that can be stored easily. You can alternate between the sizes of particles as well so that you have an evenly textured layer of compost. Place the larger items between layers of smaller composting material.
If the mixture gets too dry, add some water for moisture. You can choose to cover your compost pile buried deep with a tarp for the sake of keeping it moist enough. The process of creating compost can take anywhere from 2 months to over 2 years so be patient!
For indoor composting you will need to buy gardening items such as a compost bin
which is a special container that can be bought at most stores. All you need to do is keep a track of what you choose to include in your compost pile. If your compost bin is managed well, it won’t smell bad nor will it attract insects or rodents.