How to Succeed with Your Composting Venture Is this going to be your first time to try your hand and luck in composting? This should not be that hard. But it isn't that easy either. The sure thing about this is that it is going to take a lot of your time. But the end result will all be wroth it, especially if the next thing that you want to try your hand on is organic gardening. The two actually go together. You will be able to utilize to its full potential your compost on your organic garden. If you think that you have a knack and you have the talent for it, you should really try gardening. It is not all work but no play. This can actually be just a hobby that you can use to relax while flexing those muscles out for a much needed exercise. The main reason for gardening may be for beautification. But when you go the organic route, the reason behind this will be much bigger and much in tuned with nature. By making compost, you are also being one with nature. You are doing your part in preserving its beauty by gathering the waste elements that can be recycled to act as fertilizers to your garden. For starters, it is only natural to worry if your project will be a success or not. But why worry if you can take the necessary actions for it to actually succeed. Here are some tips that you can follow. 1. Manage the stink. You don't want to get into trouble with your neighbors for the sake of nature. To achieve this, you must keep the pile oxygenated. You can turn the materials periodically to gain such effect. This way, the materials on your pile will decompose regularly. 2. Decide if you are going to do it hot or cold. If you've decided on cold, you just have to pile all the organic materials and let nature takes its course over them. But this will take months to even years for all the materials to be good enough for compost. If you will choose hot, this is a more detailed process and more effort is required on your part. You have to place your materials on a compost bag. Place the leaves first then put soil into it. Add other kitchen wastes like scraps from vegetables and fruits. You must remember to moist this pile periodically for the bacteria to grow so they can aid in decomposing the materials faster. 3. Watch out for the unnecessary visitors. You must be vigilant in a sense that if you are seeing flies and other pests inhabiting on your pile, take the proper actions to get rid of them. You want the pile to rot but not in a way that it won't be useful in the end. 4. Place the compost, whether it is being done through hot or cold way, a good distance from the household and nearby neighbors. This way, you can proceed with the steps without the probable intrusion and questioning by the people nearby who don't get what is that all about. Composting can really eat up a lot of your time. So do it methodically. Make sure that you'll devote ample amount of time into the process if you really are serious about gaining positive results from this.
The Low-Down On Home Based Composting Processes Generally, there are two types of composting processes: residential or home-based and industrial composting processes. Each type of process has different techniques associated with it. Home-based composting is growing in popularity because it is easily implemented in homes; all it would take would be a willing mind and some manual labor on the part of the composting enthusiast. A clear advantage of home-based composting is the minimal need for machineries and other equipment that industrial composting requires. However, it will not be able to be at par with the capacity of industrial composting systems. Here are some of the types of home-based composting processes that a potential composting expert can use in his quest. Composting Toilet The use of a composting toilet or pit is one of the most popular methods of small scale composting in both urban and rural residences. The composting toilet is convenient, easy to set up and quite simple to monitor and mix. The composting toilet is a bit tricky, however, since it will require you to orient your family members about it especially if your composting activities burgeon to larger proportions. It may also be very difficult to distinguish the materials in cases where you need to monitor carbon to nitrogen ratio due to its simplicity. But it is is still widely used and accepted in most homes as a good method for small scale composting. Open or Closed Bin Composting The use of composting bins has been very useful for many people, especially those who are particularly drawn to compartmentalizing and organizing the composting activity. In some cases, a composting toilet or pit may not be easily cleaned; this is where the advantage of the compost bin comes in. the compost bin will ensure that the composting process will remain under your control. Especially with closed bin composting techniques, you can more directly observe the variables affecting your compost pile, as it is not exactly exposed to external elements that can actually affect the compost greatly when accumulated over time. German Mound Also known as a Magic mound, the German method consists of forest elements such as wastes from wood-rich gardens, clippings from hedges, prunings, bashwood and brassica stems. These objects will then be placed in a circular trench, which is about 5 inches in width and an inch deep. Another hole is dug at a center, an additional inch deeper than the outer circle, and this is where most of the rough materials are placed. From this, layers and layers of manure, wasted leaves and compost are added. Apparently, the results of the German mound is good for the soil in the next 4 or 5 years that it is installed in the land. Ecuador Style of Composting When you are involved in some composting that are comprised of tree trunk or banana stalks, then you are up for some Ecuadorian treat in composting. Embedding the whole pit with tree trunk or banana stalks, then placing the organic matter in an interspersed manner for each layer, helps segregate the compost materials more efficiently. This will take up a lot of space, because it only gets watered after the pile gets to a height of a meter and a bit beyond that. But the good thing is that the high pile need not last forever. The people of Ecuador often wait for it to settle down, remove the top layer and aerate it and repeat the process for more humus production.
To Compost or Not to Compost Well, there’s no doubt about it, composting is a good practice that any self-respected gardener should learn to do. But the question really is what materials we could make into a compost and which ones we cannot. We have been told that composting can be done with any organic material. Well, in theory that may be true, however, in real life it may not be always so. There are a several organic materials that should not be included in the compost pile unless you know how to do it properly while there are other materials that should not even be attempted even by the experts. To compost or not to compost, that is indeed the question. And let’s see if we can provide the answers. For home composters like you and me, we have a number of materials available inside our own home and even our own backyard. The big, industrial composters have a little advantage over us. They can compost more materials than us because they have the facilities to divert, mask, or absorb the odor that may come out from composting a lot of organic stuff. We don’t have the same luxury. We don’t want our neighbors organizing a protest rally against our composting in our own backyard, now do we? Don’t let this worry you though, there are still a lot of materials that we could include in our compost pile. Let’s begin with something our front lawn is always dying to dispose off: excess grass. Yep, grass clippings from our lawn can be put to better use like for the compost file in our backyard. In situations where you have hay instead of grass clippings, that could work as well. Using hay for composting is often practiced by farmers. You will find that farmers are more than willing to dispose of that hay. And when it comes to using hay for composting, be sure to pick the greener ones. Green hay means it still has a lot of nitrogen in it. Others include kitchen wastes such as vegetable peels, fruit rinds, tea bags, eggshells and coffee grounds. These substances contain high levels of nitrogen. Make sure, however, to keep pests away from your kitchen wastes. Some would prefer to prepare a compost bin intended for their kitchen wastes. Others would prefer burying these wastes in eight inches of soil. And because they precisely attract pests, it would be best to stay avoid including scraps of meat, milk products and left over bones. Wood chips, wood shaving, saw dusts, paper, and other wood products are generally good to included in your compost pile. However, be sure to stay away from chemically-treated wood products. Arsenic is one of the highly toxic chemicals that is sometimes used to treat wood. Using sawdust from such treated wood products is a no-no since the chemical will leak into the soil causing more harm than good. Speaking of no-nos, there are other things that you should not include in your compost. Plants that died due to a disease should not be included. There is still a possibility that the disease the caused the death of the plants might infect your future plants. And similarly, human, dog and cat wastes are not uses as composting materials as well precisely because they contain organisms that could cause disease. Such disease might cause people to be sick or might affect your plants. Even though grasses can be used for composting, it would be best to avoid weeds like morning glory, ivy, sheep, and kinds of grasses that could grow in your compost pile. The weeds seeds also can survive the composting pile which can be carried to your new garden. So going back to our earlier question: to compost or not to compost? Composting is something that is ideal for your garden. However, choosing the right materials will determine how successful your compost pile will be.
Getting the Most Out of Your Compost After a couple of months taking care of your compost pile, turning over the pile every now and then, warding off insects and pests, and keeping the pile damp, it is only natural (and you should do so) to get the most out of your compost. And this means using the compost wisely and effectively. You will know the right time to harvest the compost when you no longer recognize the original materials that you used to make the pile. The finished compost should look more soil-like or humus-like. It is dark, loose and smells earthy. When you harvest the compost from your pile, it would be best to spread it out and exposed it to the air. This will further dry the compost and will make is a easier to use. If you find some bigger chunks still not fully decomposed, throw it back to the next compost pile you’re going to make. One way to get the not fully decomposed material, you can use a screen or wire mesh large enough to let the compost through but small enough to screen the remaining big chunks. As you probably know by know, compost has a lot of benefits that is why it is often encouraged among gardeners. For starter, compost helps improve the overall soil structure. This means the density and porosity of the soil is improved allowing plants’ roots to grab a hold on the soil better. The soil also becomes more resistant from erosion and runoff. Likewise, adding compost to the soil allows better water retention. Aside from the soil structure, the macro and micronutrients compost contains provide plants with the needed minerals and nutrients to grow healthy. The soils holds in the nutrients better when compost is added to the soil. Not to mention, compost improves and stabilizes the soil’s acidity levels as well. These are but a few reasons why compost should be used by gardeners. Let’s go back to your newly harvested compost. After removing those that did not fully decomposed and after curing the finished compost, the next steps would be using what you have been brewing these past few months. Among the most common usage of compost is as soil amendment. What you do is add the compost to your soil and allow it to draw out the nutrients and other essential minerals for your plants to absorb. You can also spread the compost over the soil before the planting season. You can apply to selected plant surfaces if you have not enough to go around with. You can also use your compost as mulch. Mulch is a protective layer spread over the soil to help counter the effects of the climate. You might need an ample supply of compost if you use it mulch though. To use it as mulch, you need two to six inches of compost covering the soil surfaces of plants, trees, shrubs, and exposed slopes. As mulch, the compost will help lessen weed growth, prevent erosion, attract earthworms, and help retain water. Another usage of compost is as potting mix. Mix the compos with sand and soil and voila! You’ll have a great quality potting mix which you can use for your plants. A mix of 1 part sand, 2 parts compost, and 1 to 2 parts soil seems to be the general agreement for using compost as potting mix. Getting the most out of your compost is only natural. You worked hard creating your compost and you should learn to reap the full benefits.
Steps to Composting Organic matters tend to decompose naturally. But you can actually help make the process easier by learning the process of composting. Having a compost may be easy or hard, depending on the way you will do things and how you will manage your time in doing so. Hot or Cold? There are basically two ways in having compost done. It can either be hot or cold. The cold type is the easier route. You just have to leave the pile to rot. That is the idea. You gather useful materials for your compost. This includes matters like leaves, grass trimmings, vegetable peelings, fruit scraps and all the waste that can be seen in the garden. But this will take a long time because you are not really helping the materials on the pile to disintegrate much faster. This is the difference of your second option, the hot type. For this, there is an art and method being followed starting from the time that you put your materials on bags or compost bins. Some people recommend that you place the green leaves first, add soil, then you can add the kitchen wastes. The latter includes the peelings of vegetables and fruits, eggshells and other kinds. Just do not add up on the materials that will attract unwanted visitors to your compost. Do not throw in excess food especially meats. You must keep the pile that is holding up your compost moist. But keep it at a moist level. Your pile must not be totally wet. To do this, you must add up just bits of water to the pile periodically or when you deem that it is necessary. Others will suggest using beers instead of plain water. Beers contain yeast that will then make the bacteria on the pile contented with glee. Your compost pile should always be maintained. Aside from keeping it moist, you must add up on the trimmings as well as the soil whenever necessary. You can also add some manure to help advance the decomposition process. Aside from these, you should also take time to turn the pile every once in a while. This way, air circulation will improve and this will also make the process faster. When will you know that the end result is ready to be utilized? If it already smells like earth and it already looks like dark soil, then it is time to get it out of the bin and utilize it on your gardens. Some gardeners believe that the products of compost alone will not make your garden soil completely healthy. You must aid that with other materials and use the compost just like how you will use a conditioner on your hair. It can be treated as an amenity but not the complete package. To make the process easy on your part, you have to remember that you are doing this for the sake of nature. You are only giving back what it has given to you. And look around you very closely before starting out the process. Your location should be good enough to accommodate this process. This should not cause any inconvenience on your neighbors as well as your family members. Composting is good and can be easily done. You just have to remember to do everything with the responsibilities completely retained in your heart and on your mind.
The Greens and Browns of Composting Imagine yourself as a chef of a fancy restaurant. To cook a delicious meal, you carefully measure the ingredients and combine them to create wonderful dishes. The same can be said when creating composts. This time, however, instead of the people in the restaurant as your customers, you will be answering the needs of your plants. And just like cooking, you are given the task of putting together in equal amounts the “greens” and “browns” of composting. “Greens” and “browns” are nicknames which are used to refer to the organic materials used in creating compost. The major differences between these two elements are not so much on the colors of the organic matter themselves but rather on their basic components. The Greens are organic materials rich in nitrogen or protein. Meanwhile, Browns are those organic matters that have high carbon or carbohydrates contents. Because of their high nitrogen and protein contents, Greens allow micro organism in composts to grow and multiply. Also, the Green components generate heat in compost piles. The Brown elements on the other hand contain the energy that most soil organisms need. Furthermore, because of their high carbon contents, the Browns function as a big air filter, absorbing the bad odors that emanates from the compost pile. The carbons also help prevent organic nitrogen from escaping and also aids in the faster formation of humus from the compost. In case you’re stumped whether an organic waste or material belongs to the Greens or Browns variety, one of the easiest way to test it is to wet the material. If you find the material to stink after a few days then it belongs to the Greens variety. Again, remember not to be fooled by color. For example, although leaves come in green, brown, red, etc. colors, they are classified as Browns. Leaves are high in carbon. The evergreen leaves for example have higher carbon contents than any other leaves. However, there is always an exception. Oak tree leaves do not fall under the Greens classification. Oak leaves contain high amounts of nitrogen which makes them fall under the Greens category. Other examples of Greens include animal wastes, grass clippings, and those left over food from your kitchen. AS long as you don’t use harmful chemicals like inorganic fertilizers and pesticides on your grass, then the use of grass clippings I is okay. Meanwhile, papers, wood chippings, sawdusts, bark mulches and other wood products are most often than not fall under the Browns classification. Sugar products are also classified under Browns. These include molasses, syrups, sugar and carbonated drinks. You could use these sugar products to activate or increase the activities of microbes in your compost pile. Some other Greens include vegetable and fruit wastes, eggshells, as well as coffee grounds, filters, and teabags. For the Browns, they have hay, straw, and cornstalks. Pine needles fall also under the Browns category. However, it is suggested that using too much pine needles on the compost pile will give the Browns too much of an advantage. Once can achieve a successful compost with the correct ratio of Brown and Green components. Ideally, a “Browns” and “Greens” of composting ratio of 3:1 would ensure a successful compost. This means, you will have three parts or the pile made of components high in carbon (Browns) and one part of it made up of nitrogen-rich ingredients (Greens).
Dynamic Composting Tips and Tricks Unlike the aging body, you do not need the elixir of youth to be able to ensure that your compost heap is at its glorious best, thriving and able to function well on your soil. Few people are attracted with passivity of all forms, especially in compost, which is supposed to be a hot pot of activity for yielding greatest returns in the environment and farm land business people. The good thing about composting is that you can easily keep it dynamic with consistency and a host of other techniques that are tried and tested by many a composting enthusiast or advocate. Balance the ingredients Primarily, the basic thing to keep or maintain for a compost heap to be active is balance of ingredients. If you have too much of a single component, your compost may eventually die down. Remember that a compost is inherently comprised of numerous organic matter, and to keep it in top condition means that you must also maintain the variety of materials you put in your compost heap. Over time, some ingredients in the compost heap may dominate over the others, so make it a point to replenish your compost bin and have it checked frequently. Select the right bin or container The right bin will also lead you to the right lively nature of dynamic composting. If you put in your materials well but placed it in an unsuitable container, the compost will become passive over time. Find the right fit for your compost heap and then ensure that the container itself is well-maintained, free of holes or other infestations that may affect your compost heap's growth. Dampen and don't soak Soaking is primary evil to your compost. Have the right amount of moisture, but do not drown the compost heap to the point that it won't be of any vital impact to your soil. Make sure that you are able to draw out more humus than water from your compost heap so that you will be paid back well for your hard labor in building your compost heap. Bacteria needs air Aeration is the other partner of ample moisture in your compost heap. If you provide your compost heap with enough air, the bacteria that produces humus will thrive and will help exceed your expectations of compost heap performance. If you are really hell-bent on keeping your compost heap dynamic, make sure that you have enough air, but not too much that it will over-expose the pile and defeat the purpose of creating a good compost heap. Check the temperature There is an ideal temperature for composting. Ensure that the compost heap maintains this temperature otherwise the whole reaction for composting will not be sustained or completed. Have a thermometer handy everyday when you inspect your composting heap. If possible, find thermometers that are created for composting purposes. Have a fixed area for composting It is not that recommended to have a mobile composting heap. Make sure you can fix it in a single place and increase its chances of growing and thriving. When you move around your composting heap too much, less reaction takes place. It requires a certain degree of permanence to produce optimum results, so make sure that you are ready and well-adjusted to this fact as well.
How to Go Organic in Composting Ever heard about organic? Who haven't these days? Where were you? Look around you. Even Oprah is clamoring about organic stuff. One may wonder if this is so important that even a popular and influential celebrity would endorse its use. Along with the talks about going organic, especially in gardening, involves the process of composting. What is this? It should not be alien to you at all. You may have been using such since you were a child. You may just have not realized it yet. But it's true, even a child can carry out on the methods of making a compost. But of course, for a child, the process will be the easier one. If you are not aware of the benefits of what you are doing, you will not really take it seriously, right? For a child, it may be a simple process of gathering the dried leaves, clipping of grasses, branches and twigs of trees, some animal manures, peelings of vegetables and fruits and other kitchen waste and sweeping them all into a pile. They just leave it there. Have you done the same when you were a child? You probably did. You may have had put all the materials that you thought to be waste on your backyard and let them decompose on their own. You may also no longer have any idea what has happened to the end product. If you own a garden, your parents might have used that as a fertilizer. But if you don't, those may have been gathered to a container and were dumped. But now that you are all grown up, you have a better view of what this process entails and how can you utilize the products of this method. The end result is actually being widely used as fertilizer for organic gardening. This is not synthetic. This contains no chemicals. This way, it will really help make healthy soil that will likewise produce healthy plants. In organic gardening, it is a must to be vigilant. You have to attend to the needs of your plants. You've got to know every detail about everything on your garden. You have to keep everything in perfect balance. For example, in controlling pests, you can pick them manually or you can add up other insects or animals that will feed on them. The success of organic gardening heavily relies on the soil. And the best way to maintain the soil of your garden is by feeding the soil. What does this mean? Just like you, it never should get hungry. This is where you are going to use the end result of your compost. You must integrate it with the soil to be able to maintain its structure as well as its health. Aside from the compost, you must water the soil. The amount will depend on the type of soil that you are using on your garden. So this is where your knowledge about everything in your garden will be really helpful. The soil is the base of the beds of your plants. This is where your plants will rely for strength and health. So it is extremely important to attend to the needs of the soil. And this is where composting will be of great help. You should master the craft to be able to benefit from it especially if you want to venture into organic gardening.
Helping Nature by Composting If you are still find it hard to understand the nature of composting, it can actually be simplified. It can actually be compared to recycling. Instead of throwing out all your waste and garbage, or at least what you consider as garbage, you can sort that out. In recycling, you need to pick the things that can still be transformed into other materials so that you can use them for different purposes. The more popular things that are being utilized in recycling are the pins on soda cans. These are said to help out in making aluminum. Other containers can be used as pots or vases. Used clothes can be turned into mats or rugs. The idea here is that while there are things that can still be useful in your everyday lives, most of the recycled materials are being implemented as decorative elements. With the products of compost, you will not pick things out of the garbage pile to be able to come up with other things that will be useful to you on your everyday life. No, the process will not come up with an exotic looking vase or a picture frame made out of shells or bottle caps. You can leave those thoughts to recycling. Composting entails the recycling of the materials that can be found on nature. The popular samples of this would be dried leaves, grass clippings, vegetable or fruit peelings, animal manure, sawdust, among others. How would all these be useful? Unlike the practical applications of the product of recycling, this in turn will mostly be for gardening purposes. This will be especially helpful if you are into organic gardening. This method requires the use of organic materials. That means that you cannot turn to synthetic products, especially for the purpose of fertilizers and pesticides. And it is possible. Your compost can make the soil for this type of gardening healthy and happy. As a result, it will produce healthy crops and chemical-free plants. Organic gardening may sound complicated to the novice ears. But if you put your heart into it, you will find out that all the hard work that you will spend doing this will all be worth it. But this doesn't really mean that you have to do it especially if you can't afford to because of the time consideration and other factors. But even if you don't have time to do organic gardening, you can still try your hand in making compost. This can also apply with people living on the urban zones. Even with such situation, you can still do a little gardening trick by having your plants in pots. No, you don't need to go organic all the way. Nobody's telling you to do so. But using the products of your compost as a fertilizer can actually engage you with the project and may start your curiosity towards the real organic gardening thing. Besides, everything nowadays seems to be marketed as organic. Look at the grocery aisles. There are organic food, organic soap, organic tissue, cloth and everything. This seems to be trend. And nature is definitely not complaining. By going out of your way to do composting, consider nature sending out her appreciation your way. And may this inspire you to do other things to help with the causes of Mother Earth.
Avoiding Composting Dangers If you are engaged in any composting activity of sorts, you might find yourself encountering certain dangers. Composting is an activity that leads one closer to nature. But then, disasters can happen even on the road paved with good intentions. There are imminent dangers However, these dangers can be avoided by a few techniques from the pros. Read up The best way to prepare for composting dangers is to read up. That's right. You need to read up on concepts and techniques and all the other factors pertaining to composting. Like in learning a new language, immersing yourself with available information on composting prior to the composting activity will ensure that you are to get the best deal of the composting activity. Also, it will show you how to do things the right way and keep you from doing things that can be detrimental to your safety. Wash your hands frequently After composting, you need to wash your hands. This may seem like a no-brainer, but mos enthusiasts who get too absorbed with their activities forget the dangers of poisoning. This may not concern you directly, but children and siblings who are not oriented to the dangers of composting chemicals may not really be privy to washing their hands after contact. This is also a good motivation for you to secure a close lid for your composting heap. Inspect your active compost frequently Frequent inspection will ensure that there are no weeds or unwelcome creatures inhabiting in your compost pile. Make sure that your compost pile remains a compost pile and not a breeding ground for harmful animals that can endanger you in your backyard. The active compost is quite dynamic in nature, so you can be ensured that you will not be bored to death or forced to watch a dull pile of manure. Orient your friends and family about your composting activities. Getting your family and friends involved or at least amply oriented will help you be able to relay your activities to them effectively. It will also help them become aware of certain things or objects you are using in the backyard (in cases where you do your compost heaps in the backyard), and will not be inclined to hit themselves with it while taking a leisure stroll. Keep the compost aerated The danger to compost is when it loses air and becomes more poisonous to the soil than helpful. Make sure that even when your compost heap is in a closed bin, there is still more than enough air for it to continue circulating. The aeration process helps enhance the composting process, and then it also prevents the organic materials from turning into an amorphous poisonous blob that you would not want to get your hands at. Familiarize yourself with the machinery (for industrial scale compost heaps) If you are dealing with composting on a larger scale and it may require some machineries, you must really exercise caution in using the machinery. Also, make sure that you are familiar with all commands, well-versed with worst-case scenarios and troubleshooting techniques for the equipment you are using. This is more dangerous, since you are talking of a composting heap on a larger scale. So make sure that you are familiarized, as well as the people around you who will be assigned to work with you on the industrial composting process.
A Simplified Look at Composting That of course is the general idea behind this article. There’s a lot of materials out there about composting and compost and the last thing you need is another one that explains the technical aspect of the process and the scientific basis behind the importance of using composts. Although, I’m not denying the fact that technical explanations such as those are necessary as well, but it would be nice to hear or read something more of layman’s approach on the subject. Well that’s something that this article would like to do, anyhow. Compost is an organic substance that is added to the soil which functions more than just being a fertilizer. It is a mulch, a soil conditioner, and something that will help the soil give the best nutrients and minerals your plants need. With compost, the soil also is able to hold more water, which is also beneficial to your plants. There are several composting methods which you can employ or use. The so called “no-turn” composting method seems to be the easiest. Like what the title of the method indicates, you don’t need to turn the pile of compost at least once every week to quicken the process of decomposition. In this “no-turn” technique, all you need to do is add a lot of coarse materials to your compost. Adding a lot of straw would do just fine. What the straw does is to create air pockets and allow the pile to be aerated. You can expect your compost to be developed at the same rate as when you employ the traditional “turn-over” composting technique. When you use this composting technique, be sure to get your compost from the bottom of the pile. Just add new organic materials on the top keeping in mind adding coarse materials as well. If the only available composting materials in your yard are piles and piles of leaves, then don’t worry. Creating composts from leaves alone can be done. You just need a couple of things, and some very simple techniques. Select a place where you will make your compost pile. For the leaves, the place ideal would be a well shaded area which will help keep the pile damp or moist. Also keep in mind that the pile should not be packed tightly. Keep it loose to allow the air to circulate. In four or six months, the compost from leaves should be finished and ready to be applied to the soil. Take a mental note, however, that the compost created from the leaves does not contain enough nutrients and microorganism to function as a fertilizer. The finished compost, however, is great as soil conditioner. When composting, you will need materials rich in carbon and nitrogen namely fruits and vegetable scraps and other table scraps except left over bones because they attract a number of pests and animals. Other products include eggshells, grass or shrub clippings, pine needles, seaweed and kelp, coffee grounds, wood ash, tea leaves, cardboard and shredded paper, corn stalks, wood chips, and sawdust. To discourage fruit flies and other pests from grouping together on your pile, it would be best to cover the pile or add lime or calcium over the top or whenever you add new materials to your compost. The lime and calcium also help neutralize the odors from your pile. I hope you were able to have a simplified view of the composting and got some useful and simple tips from the article. Just remember that composting is difficult only if you want it to be.
The Big Deal on Industrial Composting Techniques Composting is not entirely limited to a small scale. Industrial techniques abound in as much as residential modes of composting are often appraised and praised for its convenience and simplicity. There are industrial techniques that are larger counterparts of the simple residential techniques, while others employ technology and other methods unknown the the novices of composting. Whichever the method chosen, industrial composting is definitely operating on a large scale and may help a lot of production involving healthy soil. In-Vessel Method The in-vessel method, as suggested by its name, involves closed reactors. This is synonymous to closed bin composting method in residential scale, but instead of small bins, we are talking of metal tanks or concrete containers that are herculean in size. As a result, factors such as flow of air and temperature are controlled more effectively. Some companies also put additional cover layers atop the metal tank or enclosed composting container to ensure complete isolation from external elements. Ventilation and insect infestation are often controlled by layering, constant cleaning and additional aeration processes on the affected layers. MBS technique MBS is the acronym for mechanical biological treatment system. It is a facility that helps sort materials using the composting technique. The scientific term for composting, in this case, is anaerobic digestion. This has instant practical applications in helping sort waste from residential abodes as opposed to industrial wastes which may be more hazardous and larger in number. This waste management technique is praised for its ability to help ensure biological safety of the environment. Sheet Composting The heap is often the method used for composting, but in the case of sheet composting, it the organix materials are placed directly on the soil you are intending to fertilize. Then it functions as a mulch when it decays there. The common materials used here are alfalfa and mustard. But the only downside is that it can rob off the nitrogen in the soil. But adding green manure crops like clover can help sustain the lagging nitrogen supply in the roots. Most of the supporters of sheet composting claim that in the long run, this is more effective and able to retain more minerals in the soil than other techniques. High Fiber Method Wales invented this high fiber method of industrial composting and with great success so far. It involves rigorous stirring and even distribution of materials all throughout the pile. And then the aeration and surface area of the entire compost pile will improve with this symmetry. The compost pile consists of cardboard, newspapers and other forms of used paper. It is also well-suited for household composting but then it is currently being performed on a laboratory in Wales for further monitoring. This solution was offered as a way of helping reduce pressure in waste landfills. If paper products are used as a material for composting, excluding the poisonous risk of colored ink, it really has a high potential of success. ASP Method ASP or Aerated Static Pile method of composting has both active and passive elements to it. The heap is placed on holed pipings that allow circulation without having to manipulate or turn the entire compost heap, as in other industrial composting techniques. It completely relies on air for the bulk of the operation, and is extremely helpful for making sure that the passive and active elements are both in play.
Top Reasons for Composting Some of us may be hesitant in making and using compost. They find the task of making one troublesome and time consuming. Or they might have false perceptions of smelly compost piles and having such a messy process right in their backyards. While others would prefer buying their fertilizers, soil amendments or conditioners, and mulch from their garden stores to avoid all the hassle of reading about compost and actually making one. Here are my top personal reasons for composting. I only hope that you move your butt out of that chair and begin your own compost pile before you reach number ten. The first reason I find composting highly worthwhile is the fact that the materials used are absolutely free and are readily available. Compare that with the ever rising costs of commercial fertilizers and other gardening products in the market today. All you need is a little extra effort to find the best materials for your compost pile, but otherwise, everything’s for free. The second one is that compost provides more nutrients and minerals needed by my plants than commercial organic or synthetic fertilizers. The overall effect of compost is also longer than commercially available fertilizers. It’s free and it works better, who wouldn’t want that? Plus, if you organize your ingredients just right, you can provide a whole lot more range of nutrients. Another good reason would be the benefits of compost to the soil structure. When applied to the soil, compost can help the soil be more resistant to erosion, improve its retention of water, and in some types of soil (like clay) it can reduce the chance the soil becomes compact. This is also important for farmers since compost can make the soil easier to till conserving time and fuel needed to operate the machines. With the right composting technique, the process can kill those troublesome weeds as well as pests and disease-causing organisms present in the materials being composted. High temperature composting is the technique I am talking about. Although, this technique is not the backyard variety but rather a more laboratory or industrial type variety, I still find it a good reason why we should make composts. There have been studies which indicate that using compost can suppress the growth of diseases in crops. Other studies also show that crops grown over compost rich soils can resist better pest or insect attacks. Likewise, some news and observations in the field also shows that crops grown using compost bear produce that can be stored longer. If that’s not reason enough, I don’t know what else you are looking for. For the environmentalists and conservationists, compost has something for them as well. Using compost together with the soil can build soil carbon which can eventually reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It may take a lot of compost to have a positive effect on the greenhouse gases but that fact is quite useful as well. It is also found out that compost works well as an antidote for soils that are toxic with agricultural chemicals. Compost can balance the levels of soil acidity, and helps farmers to go organic after years of using synthetic agricultural products. These are my top reason for composting. Some of it may not directly benefit my personal needs but having those reasons to cling onto is a good thing to motivate the use of compost.
The Pros of Worm Composting The old "Eeeeeeew!" may well become one of the solutions to environmental problems and lack of nutrition in the soil. Scientists have tested this in the laboratory and have now approved of this new technique to composting: worm composting. Particularly, the red worm variety are the ones capable of doing this new feat. Finally, they found a new way to make use of worms aside from being the main dish in Fear Factor. Some of us may have goosebumps upon imagining the sight of creepy crawlies-- it truly is more than enough to give any average person the heebie jeebies. But on the up side, they have been known to help cultivate the environment for a long time. It is really no surprise to find that they play a vital role in the whole composting process. Some of you might think that worm composting is not really such as good idea. But before you banish the idea of those red crawlies helping save the environment, take a break, open your mind and hear out some of the advantages of the now-becoming-popular worm composting technique. Advantage Number 1: Flexible: Indoors or Outdoors, Take Your Pick Whether you want to have your worm compost indoors or outdoors, it does not really matter. You can have them on either or on both areas. The good thing is that you won't even have to sweat around too much with your worm compost. They are relatively easy to transport and are non-complaining workers that will till your compost day in and day out, for relatively no charge. You only have to feed them to keep them in top condition. Advantage Number 2: All it needs is moist bedding Worms like moisture, and having moisture is one of the easiest components of composting. If you are able to provide the moisture, you only have to wait and see until the worms do their wonders in helping you have more fertilized soil. Advantage Number 3: Worms are readily available and are not that hard to cultivate. In some areas, you need not look for worms. You only have to get a jar and focus your eyes while walking in the garden. Sometimes, you need not go out of the house and you can find them sauntering in your bathroom (rich in moisture, remember?). So the good thing is that they will not really resist you if you put them in a cage rich with food. Advantage Number 4: Aside from the yuck factor, the worms will happily do the work; you only have to regulate them. You will act more as a worm manager than a laborer, really. After you put on the heap and the worms together, you will do very minimal work for so much positive results. You can also get a lot of support from governments and people worldwide regarding this aspect. In fact, in some American communities, it is already being implemented and widely promoted to have worm composting in the home. Advantage Number 5: Mobile bins will not affect the worms' performance. Another thing with the worm composting that other composting techniques don't have is the mobility. You can take it with you anywhere, assuming that you have small scale composting on your sleeve (industrial size worm composting isn't really a lovely idea, anyway).
Basic Guide to Composting If you care about the environment, you will be in favor of the composting process. This concept is all about giving back to the land what it has given you. It is all about recycling. It is all about a cycle that things go through in order to grow. It is an interesting cycle. If you just take a moment to take a deeper look into a pile of decaying things, you will see that some things that are slowly becoming part of the land. And you also see some offspring that are growing from the process. That's life. And that's how your life is also going to be. If you are in touch with nature, you will see such cycles as miracles, and something to be joyful about. Compost is also more than just a using fertilizer on soil. This actually means that the cycle of life goes on. You can gather decaying leaves of plants and other manures and things that can be found in your garden for this purpose. You will then use all the materials to form your very own compost. This process is actually practiced by many farmers in all parts of the world. But ordinary gardeners or people who love nature and things that revolve in it can also benefit from this. The organic residue that you collect when you gather different materials from the land that is converted into something black, somewhat fragrant, and crumbly (decomposing) is what will be the compost. The idea here is to arrange the materials so that the soil bacteria and fungi can survive and also multiply as they all break down. The bacteria act as the converters of all raw materials so that they must be in a workable environment with proper moisture, food and air. If you haven't made yours, but is interested in starting a compost, you can begin by gathering the green and dry elements that you can see around your garden. You must think what you can feed the bacteria for it to thrive. For such, you can tap on the grass clippings, the green weeds, as well as the vines of pea and leaves of lettuce. What do they have in common? They contain sugar elements as well as proteins and they all can decompose fast. Dry leaves and other small twigs must be mixed with the greens when decomposing. These materials take a lot of time in order to decompose because they contain little nitrogen. That is why they must not be left alone in the process. You can also build a compost pile by mixing a fertilizer, then adding manure and garden soil between every layer of your gathered waste material. You need not be a pro to be able to come up with your own version of this tool. All you've got to have is a big heart for nature and you are set to go. What you have to remember is that you are doing the environment a great favor by being involved in such a process. Not everyone loves to garden, having said that, it is also true that not everyone will love the idea of making compost. Practice will make everything perfect. This is also true with the idea of composting. Through time, you will be able to develop your own techniques. And hopefully, you will be able to share with others what a gem you have found in this kind of process.
Teach Composting to Kids Composting education drive is another way to ensure that you are able to pass on the legacy to younger generations. But packaging the teaching method is another aspect that the composting enthusiast must not overlook. There are various ways of teaching composting to adults, but children have different needs and may require more than the expertise of monitoring your heap's temperature. Here are different techniques for teaching composting methods to children. It can really be fun and rewarding to pass on the baton to younger kids once you have gotten the hang of composting, and it will really help bring about awareness to their parents and other members of the community. Use Visuals Nothing beats the boring feeling a kid gets from pure text. Unless the kid is inclined to enjoy pure words, visuals are your best bet into inculcating a love for composting. Make use of pictures, Powerpoint presentations and other technological devices you can use. If you are on an impromptu teaching class, use your words to help the kids visualize the scenario of composting. In any case, encourage the children to imagine the entire process. Do a complete demo The demonstration will be able to teach volumes to the children, way more than any discussion can. With a demonstration, you not only show them how it's done, you also show them that you are well capable of doing what you are teaching them. Seeing the actions in real time will also eliminate the need for them to ask questions should their turn for trying it comes since they will be able to present their questions as you do your demo. Track for feedback Kids can get opinionated about things that they like. Strike their fancy even further by getting feedbacks from them from time to time. Also, ask them and encourage them to ask their questions to you. Removing their inhibitions will help you teach them more concepts than when you are dealing with an uptight bunch, Entertain all questions and give ample time to answering each question. Kids can get easily discouraged. So make sure that you are able to reserve judgment and entertain questions, no matter how “stupid” or minor they may seem to you. Remember, you are dealing with children here. If at all possible, have an assistant teacher who is also a kid to help you gain a better perspective of teaching composting to children. Discuss benefits at the outset so they will know what composting is really for. If the children are oriented from the outset that what they are doing has great significance, they are more likely to cooperate and do the tasks cheerfully. Ensure that you are fully able to help them understand how composting helps the environment and how it will make a positive difference to a majority of people. Let them do it, and refuse to interfere if possible. The main purpose for educating them on composting is to have them equipped with the skills they need to be able to do composting themselves. So, seeing them do the composting, even on a small pit for beginners, may help you see where potential problems may lie. You can also easily praise them and correct them as necessary. In any case, encourage them for every form of progress made, no matter how small it is, so as to help build their confidence.
Compost Smells: This and Other Composting Myths Composting is a natural and simple process and yet it has been complicated by machines, fallacies, misinformation, myths, and misunderstandings that came out due to erroneous publications and aggressive commercial marketing approaches. Some of these misinformed facts have been passed around so many times that the general perception has become truth. An example would be the seemingly accepted fact that all compost smells. But before we go into that, let’s discuss some other composting myths first. Myth: Composting requires a lot of work Truth: Composting is a natural process which involves basically the elements of nature doing the job for you. All you need is to gather all the materials, lay it on, and let nature do her job. Composting is a low maintenance activity as well. You only need to turn the compost file every once in a while to keep the air flowing to quicken the decomposition process and that’s it. You practically sit and wait for the the compost to finish. Myth: Composting is limited to farms and wide open spaces Truth: On the contrary, people living in urban areas who have no luxury for space can create their own composting bin from a trash can. How much space would that take up? Also, there is another technique which you can use, the so-called vermicomposting which involves the use of red worms in a contained bin where you feed them table scraps. Myth: Composting needs precise measurements Truth: Even though composting ideally would be best achieved with the right combination of greens and browns elements, having the exact measurements is not that necessary. Estimates work just fine. And those neatly piled up layers of composting piles you see in commercials, books, pamphlets and brochures of composting products, those are all for show. You don’t need to copy those, composting works the same way as you pile them up haphazardly. Myth: You need specially formulated chemicals as starters or activators Truth: Well, despite the claims of commercially available products that applying them to the compost pile will speed up the process of decomposition, buying them is not really necessary. It is often the practice to just throw in some finished compost into the newly formed compost pile and that itself will serve as the activator to get things started. There’s no need to buy those expensive stuff. Myth: Adding yeast will boost the compost’s performance Truth: This is not true at all. What you’re doing is just wasting your money by adding yeast to the compost pile. Yeast does not do anything to the compost pile and neither does it affect the performance quality of the compost. Myth: Animals are attracted to composting piles Truth: Yes, this to some degree is true. Composting piles do attract the occasional cat, dog or raccoon. Small critters will likely go for open compost piles and for piles that have kitchen scraps like meat, fat, dairy products, bones and pet manure to the pile. Myth: Compost smells Truth: Compost should not smell. If you find bad smelling compost, then the maker did a poor job picking the materials for the compost pile. Other composting myths exist and it would be best to do your research first before accepting them as truth.
Making Compost: Getting Your Hands Dirty If you’re a gardener then you should not mind getting y our hands dirty. In this line of work, you need to handle plants, soil, rocks, fertilizer, soil conditioners, etc. and not all times a pair of gardening gloves is handy. At times using glove can prevent you handling some delicate stuff. In this case, you have to get down on your knees and get your hands dirty. And nothing is dirtier that making compost. Composting is a the process were biodegradable materials, usually manure and household wastes, are turned into soil-like output by combining them with a little air, water and nitrogen. Is that too technical for you? Well compost is a dark, crumbly, soil-like substance which functions as soil conditioner, mulch, and fertilizers. It feed your garden soil the microorganism that most plants need to grow healthy and strong. When making your own compost pile, it would be ideal to find a place near your garden and yet it has enough concealment to not affect the overall look of your garden. Does that make sense? Just like one of the famous movies say “hiding in plain sight”. If such is the case, a cleverly painted compost bin would help make the area neater. A corral or a fenced area would do fine. After setting up your composting area, you start composting by arranging a 3:1 ratio of brown and green organic materials. Green ingredients contain lots of nitrogen while the brown elements contain lots of carbon. Together, they form the basic foundations of a compost file. The green organic components of gardening include grass clipping while the brown components are the dry leaves and other wood products. If you’re worried about the possible bad smell that would come out of your compost pile, then don’t. When the ratio of greens and browns is correct, you don’t have to worry of any bad smell from your compost pile. Compost should have this earthy smell and not smelling like rot. If you smell the later then there could have been some things that might have been included in the pile or the ratio of the greens and browns components is not correct. One way to make certain that your compost pile has jus the right combination of greens and browns components, is to get a pile of green material and put it in you compost bin. Follow it up with two piles of brown materials. Keep this gong until you have a nice pile of leaves and grass that measures about three feet. At this high, you probably have a base measuring 3 feet also. One good thing of having this large a compost pile is that the greens and browns can easily and quickly break down. If you want, you could add in a bucket of already finished compost to the newly formed pile. This will help start the process and begin the microbial activities in your compost pile. Make sure that you add enough moisture to the pile as well. Keeping the compost pile damp will help quicken the breakdown of the organic materials. Add water to the pile and feel a sample. It should be damp, somewhat like a sponge. See, I told you your hands will have to get dirty. There is a need to turn over your compost pile at least once a week to keep it loose allowing air into the pile and quickens the process of decomposition. After two months, you should have decent quality compost by now. The original materials you used should no longer be recognizable. As you can see, making compost is quite easy and requires not too much of your time.
Making Your Uwn Compost Bin If you intend to make your own compost pile, it would be nice to make an enclosure or compost bin for your convenience and general neatness. There are a number of compost bins commercially available in various garden stores. You can buy it if you have the money or you can do what I did, make your own compost bin. It’s not difficult and the materials you need are not that many. You can do it with your eyes closed, or maybe not. Some commercially available compost bins have their own systems or devices for turning over the compost. Some have harvesting trays or mechanisms for easier harvest. But those things are just add-ons and are made for added convenience for the consumer. You really don’t need such stuff. All you need is basic enclosures to keep the compost materials from being scattered around the area. Possibly the only limitations you have in making your compost bin is the amount of imagination and ingenuity you have. Fortunately, you can look in your storage room or garage and look for suitable materials and most likely you will find some quite suitable ones. They can be made from heavy plastics or wood or tin. Like I said, it’s just a matter of how you handle the “paints” to create a “masterpiece”. One of my suggestions would be using a wire mesh, a couple of wood planks or even pipes. The idea would be like creating a simple wired fence around your compost pile with the pieces of wooden plans or pipes as support. You can tie the wire mesh to the pipes or planks to make it more secure. The shape is up to you. You can make it round, square, rectangular or even triangle shaped. Just keep in mind that you will need to have quick access to the compost pile to turn it over at least once each weak. You can create a doorway from the wire mesh or you can make your enclosure in such a way that you can easily lift and put back the whole enclosure. Also, if you have some left over wooden slats from an old fence or wooden planks from an old shed, I’m sure you can assemble a quite sturdy compost bin in your backyard. Just make sure to let the air in by allowing spaces between the wooden boards. This will keep the air flowing inside the compost pile make decomposition quicker. If you have enough loose boards lying around, you can create a dresser-type compost bin complete with a door with hinges for easy access to the compost pile. You can even fashion one from your garbage can. Look for an old can where you can afford to experiment without being scolded by your wife or your mother later one. What you need to do is punch a couple of holes in your garbage can to allow the air to circulate in the soon composting materials. You just put your composting materials inside the can. Before you cover it, wet the materials inside until they appear damp. You can turn over or roll it around to let the materials mix while always keeping the compost pile damp. When storing the trashcan compost bin, if would be best to place it above ground. In a month or so, you should be able to get satisfactory results from all your effort. You see, making your own compost bin is very easy. You just need to consider the following fundamentals: air should flow inside the bin, you should have quick access to the compost pile, and you should be able to wet the pile when needed.
The Dirt Paybacks: Advantages of Composting Composting may literally be viewed as a dirty job. Depending on the type of composting process that you undergo, you may find yourself immersed with dirt and other external elements that other people normally wouldn't want to get involved with. However, the dirt has its own paybacks, and here are just some of the advantages of composting that you may want to tell your friends if you are to convince them that composting is worth their time as well as yours. It agrees with nature. The very first advantage of composting is that it agrees with nature. It is all-natural and you will not be able to clash with the forces of nature to be able to do it. In fact, you are actually contributing to the natural scheme of things if you are constantly taking care of your composting pit. It helps the people involved to be more meticulous and mindful. People who are involved with composting tend to be more meticulous and mindful because composting requires rigorous monitoring. The ratio of Carbon to Nitrogen, the temperature of the compost materials, and also the activity in the compost as it develops need to be closely monitored to ensure that it will not go passive and yield less than its maximum potential. Being able to take good care of your compost not only helps nature but it also helps you become more mindful and meticulous. It allows you to make best use of organic materials which would have otherwise been placed as trash. Composting lessens the garbage in your home. since what you would otherwise put in your garbage bag may now be placed in the compost pit, it will also help you in your garbage management. On a larger scale, there will be less need for dumping site spaces and less probability for landslides on mounds of garbage being added to on a frequent basis. It's flexible: you can add or subtract materials as you go along The flexibility of composting materials lie in the fact that most of the materials are readily available anywhere. You can add or subtract materials at any time you please and in any conceivable quantity just as long as it doesn't interfere with the ratios you are maintaining for your compost. There are numerous resources and support groups online and offline for this purpose. Support groups are readily available for composting enthusiasts on a global scale. especially with the emergence of global warming issues, the need for environmental solutions are on the forefront and are highly promoted these days. The good way to expand one's network and establish ties that last with other like-minded individuals lie in getting support groups and engaging in activities that are universal. Composting is one such activity. For farmers, it brings in higher revenue. Revenue can be obtained by farmers if they yield better crops from better soil. Better soil can be obtained by having a healthy compost to fertilize their land. This can actually increase their profits and keep the sources of the profits healthy and thriving for all seasons. It costs virtually nothing. Aside from the manual labor and the gathering of materials readily available virtually anywhere, composting costs nothing. The actual costs are inconsequential compared to the returns that composting can bring the people and Mother Nature. The good thing is that it accelerates the positive processes beneficial for plants, animals and humans.