Make Composting Your New Year Resolution
Composting is a very effective way of recycling organic materials and other scraps that would typically end up in a landfill. The idea of composting is one that helps to cut down waste and still provide a usable material at the end of the day.
Composting helps to create an ecosystem that effectively provides food for other insects which serve as feed for birds, bats, and other related animals. For gardening purposes, compost also serves as nutritious fertilizer for your plants thereby helping you save money and reduce the adverse effects of chemical use on the environment.
Of the different ways to go green at home, composting is one of the easiest and most encompassing. This is because it makes use of so many household materials that would end up polluting the environment under normal circumstances.
Making compost usually requires certain factors to create optimum conditions for the microbes which actually carry out decomposition. Factors such as the right amount of moisture, oxygen, heat, location and the right combination of compostable materials are some of the requirements.
If you’re new to this, then you should know that composting can be done in a few simple steps. Provided you go along with this guide, then this should be a breeze. Here goes.
1. Prepare Your Composting Materials
Composting material should be a blend of both green materials which are rich in nitrogen and brown materials which are rich in carbon. And you would need to combine them in the right ratio if you want to get the best. In order to build your own compost heap, you need to have enough materials to make the pile up to at least 3 feet deep.
Next, combining dry, brown materials with green, wet materials in the right ratio is essential. Typically, you should use a ratio of at least two parts brown material to one part green material. Green materials could consist of coffee grounds and kitchen scraps, freshly cut plants, and grass trimmings, as well as animal manure except for cats and dog faeces.
Brown materials, on the other hand, would include anything from dried plant materials, shredded tree branches, hay or straw, wood shavings, as well as cardboard and newspaper pieces.
2. Add Some Water to your Compost Pile
You need your compost pile to be constantly damp which is why sprinkling water over it regularly is essential. However, you need to strike a balance when adding this water. The quantity added should be just sufficient so that your pile feels like a damp sponge.
If you add too much water to your pile, the microorganisms responsible for decomposing would become waterlogged and drown. So that instead of composting, you pile begins to rot and smell. Your compost bin should feel warm to the touch.
If it does feel warm you can be sure that the materials are decomposing properly and the
3. Maintain Your Compost Bin
Starting a compost bin is pretty much the easy part, maintaining it is where the work comes in. As decomposition starts to take place, the contents of your bin would shrink and you might decide to keep adding layers.
These layers would be random waste from around the home such as kitchen scraps or grass. When adding fresh materials, ensure that you mix them very thoroughly with the lower layers to accept a measure of evenness.
Since your materials should only be as damp as a wrung-out sponge, you need to ensure that you are adding enough dry material to achieve this moisture level. Similarly, you should turn or mix your compost pile at least once every week to facilitate decomposition and get rid of the odour.
4. Use Your Compost
You should typically leave your compost pile for about two to three months before beginning to use it. Your compost is ready to be used when it becomes brown and crumbly and no longer gives off any heat. You need to ensure that these conditions are met before going ahead to use it. Different gardeners apply their compost in different ways.
Some add about 4-6 inches to their flower beds and pots at the beginning of every planting season, and this is the most common. However, there are others who make what is known as ‘compost tea’. It simply involves placing fully formed compost in water and allowing it so steep, afterward, it is then strained and used as a homemade liquid fertilizer.
Either way, the plants are healthy and the environment is a lot cleaner as well.
A summary of major composting tips would easily guide you as to the major steps that need to be taken. An essential part of composting that you should always keep in mind is the optimum factors for decomposition.
The right temperature, amount of oxygen, and moisture are some major factors that need to be observed. If you follow the right guidelines, composting will be a breeze and within months you’ll have a fresh supply of compost for your green garden.