When you are investing time and money in the garden, you can always expect the best results: vigorous plants and rich crops. And when you have scraps or food leftovers, the result will be twice as good. Sure, you can always buy organic food from the specialized stores. But it’s pretty cheap and easy to make your own compost with the handy ingredients and the right equipment.
3 essential elements to make the perfect compost
Unlike weeding or double-digging the earth – which takes a lot of time and physical effort, the compost preparation is trivial: the compost pile (almost) it take care of itself! Do it correctly and you’ll definitely get the expected result.
1. Start with a container
We’re going to deal with organic decaying ingredients, folks, so we don’t need anything sophisticated. The only requirement for this container is to keep all the ingredients together so that the beneficial bacteria that decompose the ingredients can work efficiently.
The composting compartments are of two types: static and rotating. Both types require that the entire content should be periodically mixed to oxygenate the decomposing materials.
Static containers can be well-ventilated wire cages or wooden boxes assembled or created manually. A well-designed container will retain heat and moisture for quick results.
Rotating containers are easy to turn and they speed up the decomposing process, reducing it to weeks instead of months or years; their secret – frequent oxygen infusions and heat retention.
Choosing a container will depend on how much ingredients you have available (grass, leaves, weeds and stems from the previous year), what space you have in the garden and how quickly you need the compost.
If you chose a static container, place it in the sun to take advantage of the heat. If it’s in the shade all day, decomposing will still be done, but at an extremely low speed – especially if the cold fall weather comes. Rotating containers are also recommended to be placed in the sun.
2. Choose correctly the mix of ingredients
A good compost recipe needs a combination of brown and green plant residues, plus some moisture. Examples of ideal ingredients for brown matter: newspaper scraps, wood, dried leaves; kitchen leftovers and cut grass are ideal for green matter.
Don’t consider meat, fish and dairy products leftovers for an outside container because it will attract mice, raccoons and even dogs.
If you use a simple container, the best option is to start filling it with more consistent material, such as small branches and wood stalks, for good ventilation. Whenever you add green matter, add some brown matter, too, to keep moisture and create air gaps.
A good idea is to help the decomposing process to begin by using some handy ingredients: add a few shards of garden soil rich in organic matter. The decomposing process (100% natural) will begin immediately.
3. Remember some simple things
Taking care of the compost pile is very easy, but some attention from your side it will make a huge difference at the end. Add matter regularly to give fresh food to bacteria, and to isolate the space to keep warm.
Turn the stack with a fork once every 1-2 weeks to make sure the ingredients are well-mixed and they start the decomposing process. Less moisture will slow-down the decomposing process.
Within a few months, the final product should be shiny dark with a fresh ground smell.
To be honest, it’s pretty hard to ruin the compost, but take some tips into account to have a great start.
Don’t be greedy with the ingredients at first
The decomposing process needs a number of ingredients to do its job. And if you still have a small amount of material, you will find suitable containers, so choose the right product from your point of view.
It is extremely easy to forget about the active decomposition process you started. In conclusion, check the pile periodically.
Don’t be addicted to only one ingredient
The combination of different textures and nutrients created from the decomposing of several plants will give top your new plants a highly nutritious diet, and it will help them to develop their resistance to diseases and pests.
Don’t be overwhelmed
There is no exact recipe and no engineering. So, start the process, even if you didn’t prepare compost before. You will quickly learn.
Compost doesn’t guarantee that your vegetables or flowers will be perfect, but the compost’s rich organic matter is the fastest way to grow healthy plants and rich crops or to grow gorgeous flowers. And when you do it yourself, the quality of the compost is guaranteed, chemical-free!
I hope this article will be a great inspiration for you to start preparing your own compost!
Image Credits: Oregonmetro