Compost, made from decomposed grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and branches, becomes a dark, crumbly mixture of organic matter.
Learn how composting works
A newbie to composting can make good quality compost. It may be compared to cooking as an art or part science. The following 7 factors can allow you to master the art of composting.
After a time anything that was once alive will naturally decompose. But, not all organic things should be composted for the house. To prepare compost, organic material, microorganisms, air, water, and a small quantity of nitrogen are required.
These items are safe to compost at home:
- grass clippings
- trimmings out of hedges
- vegetable scraps
- potting soil that has grown old
- java filters with coffee grounds
- tea bags
- weeds which haven’t gone to seed
- plant stalks
These items Aren’t safe to compost at home:
- weeds that have gone to seed
- dead animals
- pet feces
- bread and grains
- cooking oil
- oily foods
- diseased plants
Make It Work
There are little forms of animal and plant life that break down the organic material. This life is called germs. From a minute quantity of garden soil or manure comes loads of microorganisms.
Nitrogen, air, and water will offer a favorable environment for the microorganisms to produce the compost. Air flow and water will keep the germs working and healthy. The nitrogen feeds the very small organisms. You might need to add a little bit of nitrogen to the heap.
Putting on too much nitrogen can kill germs and too much water causes inadequate air in the pile. You can’t just add too much air.
Bacteria are the best compost manufacturers in your compost pile. They’re the first to break down plant tissue. Then come the fungi and protozoans to aid with the procedure. The arthropods, such as centipedes, beetles, millipedes, and worms, bring in the finishing touches to complete the composting.
Smaller is Better
The materials will break down quicker if the microorganisms have more surface area to consume. Chopping your garden materials using a chipper, shredder, or lawnmower can help them decompose faster.
Size of The Pile
The action of millions of germs generates heat in the compost pile but a minimum size 3-foot by 3-foot by 3-foot is necessary for a hot, fast composting heap. Piles that are any larger may hamper the air supply needed in the heap for the microorganisms.
Moisture and Aeration
If you can envision a moist squeezed out sponge with its air pockets, then this could be the perfect environment for the microorganisms in the pile to operate at their very best. Pay attention while your heap is composting, to the quantity of rain or a drought you might have. Water in a drought and possibly turn the heap in a great deal of rainy days. The extremes of these two can upset the equilibrium of the pile. Using a pitchfork would be convenient at this time.
Temperature and Time
Keep your pile between 110F and 160F and the beneficial bacteria will adore it. Not too cool nor too hot. The temperature will rise over a few days if you maintain a good ratio of nitrogen and carbon, maintain plenty of surface area within a large volume of material, and maintain adequate moisture and aeration.
Importance of Compost
- Compost has nutrients, but it’s not a complete fertilizer.
- Compost supplies nutrients in the soil until plants will need to use them.
- It loosens and aerates clay soils
- Retains water in sandy soils.
Using the Compost
- A soil amendment, combine 2 to 5 inches of compost into gardens each year prior to planting.
- A potting mix, add 1 part compost to two parts potting soil.
- Make your own potting mix by using equal parts of compost and sand or perlite.
- A mulch, broadcast 2 to 4 inches of compost around annual flowers and vegetables, and around 5 inches around your trees and shrubs.
- A top dressing, mix finely sifted compost with sand and sprinkle evenly over yards.
The last thing I would suggest when you’ve mastered the art of composting is to look very seriously at creating your own aerated compost tea. This elixir will provide you results that are tough to believe.