Composting is the process of decomposing biodegradable waste materials. As per WRAP, the UK generates 9.5 million food waste every year. They end up in landfills and cause the emission of greenhouse gases.
Here, we will walk you through the secrets of composting that can be beneficial for the environment and your garden.
Various composting bins
Before you start composting, you have to choose a composting bin. Here are some excellent options for you.
- Hot bins
In hot bins, you can add garden waste, kitchen waste even bones etc. (Personally we do not add bones). you need to add shredded papers and wood chips too, to give it bulk. The heat produced from a hot bin would be between 40 to 60-degree celsius. It helps in the generation of nutrient-rich compost in 30 to 90 days. And it works!
When it comes to a hot bin, the bacterias generate heat during the process of decomposition. It would lock the heat inside its walls which assist in creating compost.
- Wooden compost bins
Wooden compost bins are the traditional forms of compost bins. They are porous and insulating bins that assist in the decomposition of waste materials.
You can purchase or make a wooden compost bin using wood pallets.
- Plastic compost bins
If you have a small garden, it is best to opt for plastic compost bins. It is because they are compact and easy to move. They can retain heat and moisture as well.
Plastic compost bins do not allow weeds to grow inside the compost. They have several designs, including tumblers, barrels, and composts without a base.
Techniques to produce a good compost
Good compost can enhance soil fertility and increase crop yield. Here are the techniques that can assist you in the production of nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
- What to add in compost
When you prepare compost, add both green and brown materials. Green materials are rich in nitrogen and provide moisture to the compost. They include grass clippings, eggshells, vegetable and fruit waste. (We do not add eggshells to our compost – they simnply do not break down. And there is nothing worse than scattering compost around your veg beds, and to see eggshells all over the place, in our view. you may feel different of course).
When it comes to brown materials, they furnish fibre and energy to the compost. They are also rich in carbon. Dead leaves, wood chips, shredded paper are some brown materials. However, you have to ensure that the brown and green materials are in an equal ratio.
Akin to things that you can add to compost, there are certain items you have to avoid. They include dairy products, coal, pet waste, meat, plant waste. It is also imperative that you do not use waste materials from plants grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
- How to produce good compost
You can produce nutrient-rich compost in your garden by using vegetable and fruit waste. When you do so, ensure that there are no plastic components in them. You can prepare compost in a heap or using a bin as shown above.
You can start by adding brown materials like shredded papers to the bin. They provide aeration and assist in aerobic decomposition. Next, you have to add green materials like vegetable wastes. You have to create layers of brown and green materials in an equal ratio. Sprinkle water into the compost bin for keeping it moist. From time to time, you can add kitchen scraps to the compost. However, when you do so, you have to include brown materials to maintain the balance..
- How to look after compost
While preparing compost, you have to look after it to gain the best results. Here are a few factors to consider.
- You need to maintain the carbon and nitrogen ratio in the compost.
- Enhance the growth of aerobic microorganisms in compost. You can do so by turning over the pile once every one to two weeks.
- Cut the vegetables into smaller pieces to increase the speed of decomposition.
Here is one of the best videos that I have found which explains composting:
How composting works
As per advice from Cornell University, composting works in three different stages. They include:
- Stage one
The mesophilic microorganisms decompose the waste materials at 20 to 45-degree celsius. It lasts for two to five days and produces heat as the end product.
- Stage two
The thermophilic microorganisms decompose the materials into fine pieces. Here, the temperature is above 40-degree celsius.
Ensure that the temperature does not rise above 65-degree celsius. Turn the pile to allow aeration.
- Stage three
Here, the temperature decreases and mesophilic microorganisms help in the creation of Humus.
These are the processes by which biodegradable waste materials convert into nutrient-dense compost. The home gardener can furnish the growth of vegetables and flowers by using compost.
We personally use both methods – hotbin composting and traditional composting. If you want any advice on hotbins, please Contact Us and we will be glad to help