Composting is a great way to reduce your environmental impact while also creating nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Not only that, but this is a relatively simple process that can be done right in your backyard! In this article, you will learn about the basics of composting and provide some tips for getting started.
Get The Right Bins
You cannot just use any place to do this process, but rather a good bin that will ensure it all goes smoothly. People are always on the lookout for one of the best worm farm composters as it gives them assurance that everything will happen as it should. If you have the space, getting a bin is not difficult, and you can even make your own.
Do some research to see what type of bin will work for you and your family. If you have pets, make sure the bin is not accessible to them as they might end up getting into it and making a mess. You also want to ensure that the location of the bin gets good sunlight so that the worms can do their job properly.
Start The Pile On Bare Earth
It’s always good to do this process on your own as it has many benefits, but it’s important that you don’t shove everything in the bin right away. You should rather start on bare earth, as giving it breathing space will allow the pile to break down more effectively. Starting the pile on bare earth is a great way to get aeration for your compost, which is essential for the process.
If you have too many kitchen scraps or not enough leaves, starting the pile on bare earth can help with that as well. It’s a great way to get things moving if you’re starting from scratch or if you need to add more material to your existing bin. Just be sure to keep an eye on it and turn it regularly so that everything gets decomposed evenly.
Use The Right Natural Materials
There are tons of natural materials you can use for this process that you can find at home. These are the following:
- Coffee grounds
You can also include other organic matter such as:
- Fruit & vegetable scraps
- Manure from herbivores like rabbits, cows, and horses (not from carnivores!)
Mixing up all these will create the perfect compost for your plants. Take advantage of those fallen leaves in the autumn and use them as part of your composting process! You can also ask your local coffee shop if they have any spare coffee grounds. Many are happy to give them away for free.
Place The Materials In Layers
Don’t throw everything on the pile at once, but rather, layer the organic materials. This way, you’re more likely to get compost that’s uniform in texture and rich in nutrients. The first layer should be made up of larger, coarser items like twigs and branches.
The second layer can be smaller pieces of wood, leaves, and grass clippings. The third layer is where you’ll add your kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds.
Mix these ingredients together as you add them to the pile to ensure they break down evenly.
Balance Nitrogen And Carbon
Having the right amount of green and brown matter is the key to balancing nitrogen and carbon in your compost pile as it will later help you grow all the trees and plants you want. You need more of the former (green leaves, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps) than the latter (branches, twigs, straw, paper), which is about three or four parts green to one part brown.
The ratio is important because too much carbon will make your pile dry out and smell bad, while too much nitrogen will make it soggy and smelly. Get the balance right, though, and you’ll have sweet-smelling compost in no time.
Protect The Pile
Your compost pile will attract pests and animals if it’s not protected. To keep critters out, enclose your pile with wire mesh or build a box around it. You can also cover the top of the pile with a tarp or piece of wood to deter animals from getting in.
Another way to protect your compost pile is to layer it. Put heavy, dense materials like branches and twigs at the bottom of the pile, and then add lighter materials like leaves and grass clippings on top. This will help keep the air circulating and prevent pests from getting in.
For example, if you have a small compost pile, you can put a layer of straw or leaves on the bottom, followed by a layer of grass clippings, and then a layer of fruit and vegetable scraps.
Keep It Moisturized At All Time
You’ll need a lot of water to make compost at home, and keeping it moisturized is a key step. One way to do this is to layer your materials. Start with a layer of moist leaves or grass, then add some kitchen scraps, followed by another layer of moist leaves or grass. Be sure to keep the layers moist as you add them. You can also add water every few days to keep the compost moist.
If you live in an area with high humidity, you may not need to water your compost as often. Just be sure to check it regularly and add water if the top layer starts to dry out.
Don’t expect your compost to magically happen overnight. Depending on the size of your compost pile, it can take anywhere from two months to two years for your materials to break down into rich compost.
Stay patient and take good care of your compost pile, and eventually, you’ll be rewarded with nutrient-rich compost for your garden. If you rush the process, you may end up with a smelly mess.
Composting is a great way to reduce waste, save money, and create a fantastic environment for your plants to grow, but you do need the right bin to start with. Make sure to start the pile on bare earth instead of the bin and use the right natural materials. Place them in layers rather than all at once and balance out nitrogen and carbon. Make sure to think of methods of protecting your compost pile and keep it moisturized at all times. Finally, don’t expect fast results, and be patient to have the best pile you can get out of this process. Your garden will be thankful for it!