In order to make a meal, we need to use various ingredients, vegetables, spices, or water. If we run out of any of these materials, our meal won’t be rich in taste, will be dried out, or it won’t have any nutrient value. The same is with the soil in our garden. If it lacks water, or nutrients, the vegetables won’t be able to grow, or they won’t be able to grow to their full capacity. To increase the nutrient value of our soil, we need to “feed” it on a regular basis. The best way to accomplish that is by adding compost.
Compost is a result of decomposing of the various organic materials. The process of decomposing can take weeks or months, depending on the methodology used. Although compost can be purchased easily, most of the gardeners choose to make the compost on their own, so that they can be sure that the proper material was used: the one that doesn’t contain pathogens, pesticide residues or heavy metals.
There are many materials you can use for making compost, some of which are yard trimmings, kitchen wastes, leaves and manure. Many of these materials have often been brought to landfills, making the area used for trash even greater than it needs to be. Even though these materials can easily decompose, in the uncontrolled environment they can start producing methane.
When it comes to kitchen wastes, you can’t use the material that contains fat, oils, or dairy. Vegetable and fruit wasted can be used no matter how ugly or mold they appear. To add calcium to the compost, you can crush the eggshells, and add them to the compost.
There are many different types of composting performed over the entire planet during the history, some of them include insects or specific local vegetables and soil conditions. Below are the most common techniques you can perform almost anywhere.
Making a compost pile is the most common method for compost production among the home gardeners. A compost pile requires various materials, so you need to have prepared all sorts of materials ready to recycle. The pile is made out of layers, and the first layer should be made out of the dry material, such as corn stalks, straw, dead flowers, leaves, and even the shredded newspapers can be used. The next layer should be made out of kitchen waste, manure, and grass clippings. The third layer is garden soil, after which you can determine, by the leftover material, if you want to repeat the entire process from the start, until you use all of the material you have.
If you have any problem that prevents you from digging a hole in the yard (you don’t want to damage the sewer system, or the root system of the tree), you might want to skip this method. Otherwise, feel free to try it, because unlike many other methods, this one is almost invisible, and undetectable by smell. The idea is to cover the organic material with the soil, once you finish the filling of the pit. Unlike other methods, this one doesn’t require turning. The decomposition is happening under the surface, and after it’s completed, the nutrients are right where they are most needed.
If you have a lot of material and enough space on your farm, you can try windrow composting. With this method you can produce a large amount of compost, that’s why it’s the most suitable choice for farmers. The basic idea is pilling organic material in long rows, and turning them as the temperature within the mass changes. To achieve optimum results, compost must be frequently turned, and when it comes to farm scale production of the compost, the machines called windrow turners become quite handy.
Vermicomposting is the process of making compost with the help of worms and other microorganisms. This process is usually performed indoors, during the winter, when you can’t use your kitchen waste for making outdoor compost pile (due to low temperature). Kitchen waste (excluding meat, oils, dairy and fat) has to be collected and stored in the boxes for at least a week. After this period worms can be added. Red wigglers, white worms and earthworms have proven to be very quick in creating a heterogeneous mixture we wish to gain. Also, if you want to go fishing with the bait, you just need to dig a bit, and you’re ready to go!
A compost tea is made out of compost and water, as its name suggests. While many gardeners claim that making a compost tea it waste of perfectly good compost, the others claim that tea can be easily sprayed on the leaves and grown vegetables, to feed them and protect above the ground. It suppresses fungal diseases, and thanks to its low-strength, it can’t bring damage to the vegetables.
If you have limited space in your home or garden for compost production, compost bin might be the right choice for you. While there are many models which can be purchased online, you could build one yourself. Most of the gardeners choose to make a bin out of wood pallets, and stand them on the edge to form a square. Bin keeps composting materials together, making a greater pressure on the lower layers, speeding up the decomposition. While most of the time the bin may remain uncovered (allowing better aeration), during the rain it should be protected by waterproof material, such as plastic.