What is Compost?
Everyone who enjoys gardening is aware of the importance of making compost at home. Compost can be described as a soil conditioner. It allows you to introduce essential nutrients to your plants like carbon and nitrogen and stimulates water retention and plant growth. Moreover, it’s a great natural alternative to chemical fertilizers and allows you to recycle your household waste by putting it to good use.
Ingredients you need to make compost at home:
Green ingredients: Green ingredients are fresh products that are a source of nitrogen. These include fruits, vegetables, food scraps such as coffee beans, egg shells, tea leaves and garden waste like grass clippings and leaves.
Brown ingredients: These include dry products that are a source of carbon to the heap such as dried leaves, shredded paper, cupboard, and wood chips.
When making compost at home, you need to balance these two groups of ingredients at a ratio of 1 part green ingredients and 3 parts of brown ingredients.
When thinking about how to make compost from kitchen waste, bear in mind that certain items should never be used for making compost. These include any fruit pills that might’ve been exposed to pesticides; meat, bones or fish scraps; black walnut leaves; perennial weeds and diseased plants.
The process of making compost at home:
Once you have all the ingredients, making compost at home is incredibly straightforward – largely because, under the right conditions, the microbes practically do the entire job for you.
Ideally, you should build your compost on a bare ground, so that worms and other organisms will be able to contribute in speeding up the process by introducing oxygen to the pile.
Here’s the step-by-step process to make compost:
Two of the most common problems with making compost at home are the fruit flies it attracts and the unpleasant smell. To eliminate the problem, add lime & calcium to the pile.
Take a simple tall roll of welded wire and form it into a circle. This will hold your compost together to avoid it falling all over the place
Lay twigs or straws first to create a solid foundation for your compost.
Start layering your brown and green ingredients, making sure you have a balanced ratio of nitrogen to carbon. As a rule of thumb, use the ratio of 1 to 3 of greens and browns
Add as many ingredients as possible in order for your pile to reach a sufficient size. The pressure from the weight of the pile will allow the decomposing process to start naturally.
Water your compost occasionally to maintain its level of moisture, unless you live in a rainy area. In this case, additional watering is redundant.
Don’t forget to cover compost with anything you have at your disposal, like a board of wood or a plastic sheet. This will allow the compost to stay moist and warm. Make sure it never becomes too wet or soggy.
To develop the compost, you have to allow it to aerate. To introduce oxygen, turn the compost around every few weeks. However, if you have materials like straw, the compost will aerate naturally, without any turning required on your side. If you’re using this method, keep adding new materials at the top of the pile and use the bottom of the pile for fresh compost.
Follow these steps, and you’ll soon become an expert at making compost at home!
Collect all the brown and green ingredients, to ensure that your compost has a sufficient 1 to 3 nitrogen to carbon ratio
Layer all the ingredients in a circular bottomless container, placed on bare earth
Cover the compost and water occasionally if needed
Turn the compost around every few weeks unless you have a lot of straw to add to the pile