Welcome to Composting 101. With your garden compost, like most practices, you can achieve seemingly miraculous results by focusing on quality and keeping things simple.
Easy composting will start with collecting various waste items from your home. You can use food products, such as oatmeal, potato skins and orange peels, as well as grass clippings and leaves.
There are some nuances to composting at home, however. For example, using meat products or dairy can be a bad idea, because they attract unwanted attention from nearby animals and start to stink. Let’s cover all of our bases, and you’ll rapidly become a professional at composting!
Why use a kitchen compost bin
In reality, you likely won’t be composting in your kitchen. Collect enough materials to fill your compost bin with at least 3-4 feet of material, when you start it outside.
Gather a balanced mixture of both green and brown materials. Brown items will help keep your compost dry, and nitrogen-rich green items will provide moisture.
For brown materials, you can use wood, bark and sawdust, but it should to be shaven down in order to decompose more quickly. Avoid any wood that’s been treated with chemicals, as it’ll be poisonous for your garden.
Green materials may include fruit and vegetable scraps, grass and fresh leaves. These items are composed of about half moisture, so mix them proportionately with brown items. Otherwise, they’ll clog up your compost and close out oxygen, which is an essential part of the process.
Used coffee grounds are an excellent source of “greens” that are easy to collect on a regular basis. Although they’re brown in color, it’s their nitrogen content that classifies them as a green material.
Egg shells break down slowly and should be finely ground. Any source of calcium in your soil will help vegetation to develop their cell walls.
Consider the influence of infections in your pet dog or cat’s feces before using them in your compost. Roundworms can also be eliminated during hot or cold composting, so there’s not too much to worry about there.
How to make a compost pile
Making compost is a process of breaking down organic materials via microorganisms. Many gardeners will use a compost activator to speed up the process, which means adding a nitrogen compound to create heat.
You can purchase a compost starter at your local garden supply store. You can also create your own compost accelerator by using nitrogen-rich materials, and there are certainly far simpler ways to infuse your compost bin with nitrogen! Generally speaking, it’s more cost effective to use waste materials, although this subject requires some additional expertise.
Starting with a full compost bucket, build your compost pile on a combination of brown and green materials. Water your garden compost as necessary, checking its temperature as well. Your compost should be moist, but by no means wet.
Remember that you can modify your compost’s moisture by adding brown, dry items and green, wet items. Stir your compost pile on a weekly basis, at a time when it’s between 130 and 150 degrees in heat. This will prevent it from stinking and will thoroughly provide it with oxygen.
After your compost material has decomposed into a rich, dark, crumbly material, it’s ready for use in your garden!
Why a compost bin is effective
A garden compost bin can be effective for both hot and cold composting. Your organic compost will break down faster when hot, although it requires more effort and attention, whether you’re using a pile or compost bin. You already know how to do this.
Cold composting will take up will often take several seasons, although it doesn’t require much attention to the materials you use, or a need to stir or water your compost very often.
Many gardeners use a compost maker to protect their organic materials from animals, rain and other factors. You can also use a homemade compost bin, or one that you purchase, for vermicomposting, which requires the use of a specific worm, called red wriggler worms.
Using a food dehydrator for composting
A dehydrator machine can protect the nutritional content of food. Compost materials, on the other hand, are designed to decompose. Reducing the water content will not only leak nitrogen, but will stop the bacteria and microorganisms required for composting.
Using a vegetable dryer machine is an effective way to preserve your fresh garden produce, including herbs, fruits and veggies!