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How To Make Compost for Your Garden

March 15, 2016

In gardening, when you recycle the waste you create compost. It is really that simple to understand. Composting is not a new concept. It is one of the established conventional methods of recycling waste and almost every gardener knows this.The process of composting or recycling waste is based on a type of chemical reaction in which the micro-organisms present in the soil break down this waste in to a different soil which has crumble natured typical smelling properties. When this chemically transformed and naturally converted soil, popularly known as the “compost”, is added to the soil then it helps increasing the fertility of soil and stimulates healthier root development among the plants.

Compost is also a variety of garden mulch. It is easy to make compost for your garden yourself. You just need to follow few simple steps to make compost.

Collect Suitable Composting Material

I wish I could give you a set recipe for ideal compost. It mainly depends upon the micro-organisms present in the soil. You can only make your best efforts to provide an ideal set of conditions which will facilitate these micro-organisms work with maximum efficiency. There are two extremely important conditions that you should ensure while making compost. Proper heat and good aeration are two factors that you always can provide. Micro-organisms generate heat themselves during the process of composting and this plays an important role in the conversion of organic material.

Waste material from only healthy plants should be your priority while collecting it. Dock seed head, dandelion roots, couch and oxalis are some of the materials you should never use because these materials are likely to survive the process of composting. Similarly, food scraps of dairy products, meat and bones are also unsuitable for compost making.

Here are some of commonly and easily available composting materials include grass clippings, leaves, pruning’s, fruit and vegetable scraps, tea leaves, coffee grounds, thin layered animal manure, seaweed, and thin layered wood ash.

Get a good Compost Bin

You need a little free space for making a compost bin. An area with one square meter (1sq.m or 1 meter X 1 meter) which is safe from direct sunlight, winds, and rain would be the most suitable for this purpose. Ensure that the soil is well drained. You should not place the compost bin on any cemented or concrete surface because it will prevent earthworms penetrating in to compost to act as an agent of chemical conversion. It will also forbid the aeration of compost bin. You must make the compost bin at a sufficient distance from your living area.

Now a day’s several types of readymade compost bins are available at garden stores. Choose the one that suits you best. A plastic or wooden compost bin could also be preferred. You must check if the compost bin of your choice has a tight fitting lid. This would keep the unwanted vermin’s and rain water away from the compost bin.

Start Preparing Compost

Once you have selected the right place and placed the compost bin in to it you are ready to start with making compost now. First step would be to break up the topsoil and add chopped coarse garden material that you have already collected. While placing this material in to the compost bin ensure proper aeration and drainage. Any material which is more than 5mm in diameter would not be suitable. Cut this up in to smaller pieces. Micro-organisms badly require air and moisture to break down this organic material. So, smaller sized material would be easier for these micro-organisms to work with.

Observe that there is enough moisture content in the compost bin. In case you see any deficiency, add water to maintain the level of moisture. Make sure that water does not become too much as it will make the compost sloppy, smelly. Any access of water will slow down or break down the process of composting.

Fill the Compost Bin

Composting material when ready must be arranged properly in the bin. You would be required to put this material in layers and ensure that it is enough coarse. First layer of this material will have an upper layer of vegetable peelings, grass clippings, and plant material. You should sprinkle each layer with blood, bone and the compost activators. It would be better if you add a little lime to the material for each layer as this keep a good smell of finished compost. It will also keep the decomposition process at fast pace. Then add a layer of soil on the top of this.

You would be required to repeat the same pattern of layering until the compost bin is full

Work With the Process

It will take almost two week’s time to get the composting material cooled down. Keep taking care and finally after two weeks turn the material over as this would enhance the level of aeration which will speed up the process of composting. Add water in case you observe that the material is dry and need more moisture. Once you’ve done this, it is time to shift the material in composting bin. You must ensure that incomplete and decomposed material has not been used without cutting it down to required size. If it does remains out then better keep it for the next round of composting.

Know How and When To Use Your Compost

Normally the composting process consumes two to five months but it mainly depends upon the season and time of the year. During summers the process gains higher speed while in winters it slows down. In any case, you must know that once all the above steps have been followed carefully, this process will automatically produce good compost for your garden.

When the compost is cooled down, it is ready to use. Ensure that it does not get hot when turning it over. This is a good indicator of the readiness of the compost. You should never use the hot compost to your garden as it will cause severe damages to the young plants.

When you take out the compost out of the compost bin test that it is crumbly, dark brown to almost black in color and has an earthy musty smell. If it is so, mix it with soil and spread it around plants, vegetables, and shrubs in your garden.

Your compost will give you good smiling results in time

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