How to make a homemade compost
Most home gardeners have discovered the beauty and benefits of composting. Composting is the practice of naturally recycling unwanted food products and turning it into nutrient rich supplements for the garden. It consists of food scraps, grass trimmings, manure, fruits (some that are already past their prime, as well as the skins), coffee grounds, egg shells, shredded paper, and accompanied by worms. Over time, the end product is a mushy,humus-like product that is then added to the soil over time. And your garden will love you for it.
Benefits of composting
1) Waste reduction: By composting you incredibly reduce the amount of kitchen and yard waste in a natural way, than contributing to the vast increase in landfills. 1/3 of landfills are made up of compostable material.
2)Natural alternative: Composting is great for the environment because it reduces, if not completely eliminates the use of chemical fertilizers, which aren’t kind to the environment.
3)Organisms: There are organisms in compost that help condition the soil but adding nutrients to your plants, promotes moisture preservation and even staves off diseases that would otherwise affect your plants.
What do you need to start a compost?
One doesn’t need t be an expert in gardening or recycling to start and maintain a compost. Plus it’s an incredibly inexpensive DIY project or you can opt to purchase one. For starters you need to know what you need and what to avoid. Don’t use produce that have already gone to use, as you risk them germinating in what you are already trying to grow. Secondly you need to know your greens and browns. Also don’t forget about the worms and using your food scraps as well. But for now , lets look at what I mean by your browns and greens, that you can utilize in your garden/compost. Here is a list on how to figure out what you can/need to use to get the right ingredients/needs for your garden.
Materials to Compost
|Browns = High Carbon||Greens = High Nitrogen|
Stems and twigs, shredded
Now, I had mentioned the worms. Frankly, in my compost I utilize these little buddies like crazy; and nothing is better than worm tea. I will speak on different kinds of “teas” used for composting in a later post. Basically, you have worms and food scraps and of course you need to maintain the moisture. Over time, you are going to have worm castings (poop) and liquid. These are incredibly important in your compost and even more supplemental in your garden. VERY beneficial. I’m quite sure that you can purchase commercially made/produced, but it is so easy….so why not?
So you clearly need a bin of some type for the worms, and it need to be well ventilated. Depending on the weather where you are, you can obviously choose to have them indoors or outdoors. I had mine indoors and I just used cheap plastic bins. I made holes in the first one so the casings and “tea” can drain down. I used what I could…egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit carvings and other things. Please do keep in mind that you can’t just put everything that is considered “scraps” in there because you have to maintain the PH level. I got worms from a reputable producer and I couldn’t wait to get them :). But that doesn’t matter. So I simply just put them in in their new home and boy did they work. And they multiply like crazy. Now, once you have your compost pile well established and settled, what you need to do is to maintain the moisture. Sometimes you need to take the bin outside for some fresh air ( I love animals and believe that they need the same as what we humans require). You need to turn the mixture frequently…maybe every two days. Just depends on how dry/wet your mix is. Obviously you need to keep the food supplement going on a constant level, but please don’t be afraid….they eat like crazy. Also don’t be afraid to let some of them go, with the tea and the compost in your garden as well.
Other than that, just keep the bin (commercial or cheaply home made, well ventilated) and check on them on a regular basis. And by regular, I mean every two days or three just to make sure everything looks fine.
And don’t forget that you can utilize the tea as well. Everything from the compost is usable. EVERYTHING.