If you’re looking for a way to make your garden or yard more beautiful and fruitful, then finding the best compost is a great step in that direction. In this article, you will learn about What is Compost Used for and how to make it!
What is Compost Used for and How To Make It
Compost is a mixture of organic matter and soil that has been aerated and turned into a soil amendment. It is used as fertilizer, to improve soil quality, and to control pests and diseases.
To make compost, you will need:
- A large, sturdy bin or pile of materials (a compost heap)
- A spade or shovel
- A rake
Things to Consider Before Composting
First, figure out what you will be composting. This will help determine the size of the bin or pile you need. Most things that can go in the trash can go in the compost pile, including food scraps (meat, dairy products, vegetables), paper products (including magazines and newspapers), plastics, rubber, insulation, and carpeting. You can also add tree limbs, brush, and leaves from your yard.
Next, gather the necessary items. You’ll need a large bin or pile of materials (at least 3 cubic yards), a spade or shovel, and a rake. If you are composting food scraps only, you don’t need items like an anaerobic digester or thermometer; just put everything in the pile and turn it in every two weeks.
Now start piling everything on top of one another. There are different ways of mixing the material, but most people simply start with a layer of grass clippings or leaves and then add other items.
Once you have the pile layered to your satisfaction, work in some water. This can be as easy as using a hose or sprinkler on a fixed schedule (every day in the spring and fall) or by pouring several gallons of water over the pile each time it is turned with a watering can.
Once everything is covered completely and you have washed it all down with water, you are ready to plant. The choice of plants depends on the type of soil and whether you simply want a garden or grass with some flowers in it.
Some people use a method called sheet composting, which involves laying a layer of dryer lint or paper (or even shredded newspaper) on top of the pile and covering that with another layer of dry material.
This method can be used anywhere but makes sense for areas where you might get water on top of the compost pile. However, in areas that are particularly prone to getting water on top of the heap, you might want to consider other options.
One is a simple cover made by ramming a 2-foot-long piece of 4-inch PVC pipe into the compost mound and then cutting slits along its length at about one-foot intervals. Another is a tomato cage (available from garden centers).
The cage has a round top section that fits over the center of the pile and a bottom channel that is slotted to allow water through while keeping the material inside dry.
Compost Pile Turning Tips
The compost pile should remain turned over every two weeks. Turning occurs naturally if you add new material, but will be forced on you if the heap gets too full or has a high moisture content, which is usually hard to tell until all of the compost has been added, at which point it is too late.
After about six months (sometimes sooner), you can apply a one-part-concentrate fertilizer (any of the green bags). For decades, this has been the standard for tomatoes and other small garden crops.
Most importantly, it will slow down the composting process. If you do use this method, be sure to allow enough time for it to finish before planting your next crop of tomatoes or peppers.
I have also had good results with an organic garden mix that includes worm castings in each bag. This is a slow-acting fertilizer for plants but not pests (you can read about how I use it here).
Other Fertilizers to Add to Your Pile
The worm castings will break down faster than the compost and produce fewer worms, therefore producing fewer castings. This method does not produce much heat in your compost pile, so you can add a bit more of the organic fertilizer directly to your pile after you have finished your vegetables.
There are many different types of fertilizers from which to choose. Ammonium nitrogen (which is also known as urea), ammonium phosphate (ammonium nitrate), ammonium sulfate, and potassium nitrate are all examples of common fertilizers.
I have found that my plants prefer a mix of all-purpose fertilizer with a slow-acting, natural fertilizer. The large bags of potting soil are usually filled with slow-acting fertilizer.
So I purchase all-purpose fertilizers and use them in between to maintain the balance of the plants. Be sure to check the bag label before purchasing, as some contain urea (which is not safe for house plants).
Always use a soil test kit to evaluate your soil. If you live in a region that has very acidic soil, you may have to alter the fertilizer formula and use an acidifying plant food such as azalea and hibiscus for acid-loving plants.
On the other hand, if your soil is quite alkaline (pH more than 7), try using a basic organic fertilizer with some sulfate to help balance the pH.
How to make compost
Compost is a mixture of organic material that has been composted. It is an important part of gardening and can be used to fertilize plants, improve soil quality, and reduce the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of.
There are a few different ways to make compost, but the most common is to combine yard waste, kitchen scraps, and plant materials in a bag or container and turn it every week or two. We’ll discuss each type of composting in a bit more detail.
How to Make Your Own Compost Bin
There are many different kinds of compost pails for backyard gardeners, and the one you choose depends on what kind of yard waste you have and how frequently you want to turn it.
The most common style is the clear plastic bucket peeler (you know, like an egg slicer), which lets you see how much of the compost has been turned over.
This style works well for people who have a lot of yard waste and want to make sure it’s being turned over frequently. Another option is a covered compost pail with an opening at the top.
This style can be more convenient for someone who has less yard waste and wants to use their compost pail for other purposes as well, such as flower pots or herbs.
The key to turning compost is to keep the material moist. It should feel damp in the pail but not soaking wet (like when you’re watering a plant).
You want to make sure that the material gets enough water to stay damp, but not so much that it becomes saturated and starts to rot.
Main Ingredients for Composting
Composting is a great way to dispose of organic waste. By composting, you are converting organic material into a soil amendment that can be used in gardens or parks.
You can make compost from municipal waste, food waste, and landscape debris. There are several ingredients you need for composting.
To start, you will need a compost bin. The size of the bin will depend on the amount of organic material you are recycling. You will also need kitchen scraps, yard clippings, and other garden debris.
Next, add the materials to the compost bin in layers. Make sure the layer of materials is thick enough so that the heat from the composting process can decompose the material.
Keep the compost bin covered and turn it every few days to help break down the material faster. When finished, your compost should be dark brown and smelly. It is ready to use in your garden or park.
Dos and don’ts of making compost
Composting is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, increase your soil fertility and create healthy, sustainable gardens. Here are some dos and don’ts of composting to help you get started:
- Do make a garden plan and design your garden beds to allow for composting.
- Designate an area in your backyard or in your home for composting. Then cover it with a layer of straw or other organic material.
- Make sure you have the right tools for composting. A compost tumbler, a pile setter, and a thermometer are all essential.
- Gradually add kitchen scraps (meat, bones, leftovers) and other organic materials to the tumbler. Piling them high as they break down.
- Monitor the temperature and turn the pile when it reaches 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).
- Until you’re comfortable with the process, keep your compost away from pets and young children.
Health Benefits of Composting
Composting is a great way to get your yard and garden healthy while reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill. Here are some of the many health benefits of composting:
- It helps improve soil quality. Composting breaks down organic material into natural elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which can help improve soil fertility.
- It reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill. By composting, you create a valuable resource that can be used in gardens or landscaping instead of throwing away materials that could have been recycled or composted had they not been wasted in the first place.
- It helps reduce pests and diseases. By composting, you create a hospitable environment for beneficial bacteria and fungi that can help control pests and diseases.
- It’s good for the environment. By reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill. You’re helping protect our environment from harmful toxins and chemicals that could contaminate our water supply or harm wildlife habitats.
Planting in Compost without Soil
Compost is a wonderful soil amendment that can be used in both indoor and outdoor plants. It is made of organic matter that has been broken down by microorganisms. And it is an excellent way to add nutrients to your garden. You can make your own compost using just a few simple steps, or you can buy it pre-made at most garden centers. Here are some tips for planting with compost:
- Choose a location for your compost pile that will be well-drained and sheltered from direct sunlight.
- Fill a wheelbarrow or container about two-thirds full of fresh organic materials. Such as leaves, vegetable scraps, and even old newspapers. The more variety the better!
- Add water until the mixture is evenly moistened (but not wet).
- Cover the material with layers of cardboard or heavy plastic to keep critters out and allow the compost to work its magic for six to eight weeks.
- After the compost has finished working, you can remove the cardboard or plastic and use the soil as normal. If you want to fertilize your plants right away, add a balanced fertilizer to the soil before planting.