Ever wondered why plants and trees in the forest blossom all year round? Well… It’s mostly because there are lots of leaves that fall to the ground and decompose to form nutrients for the natural vegetation. Plants in our homes do the same, but we tend to break the natural cycle by raking away the leaves and giving them to the council to fill up the landfills.
This leaves our plants starving for nutrients hence forcing us to buy expensive fertilizers that not only pollute our environment, but also we don’t actually need them. This should stop.
The solution is that you should be taking the leaves you raked and mixing them up with organic waste from your kitchen to make compost to feed your plants.
The process is very easy, and I will teach it to you. But first…
What Is Composting?
Compost is organic matter that has decayed or broken down naturally. Compositing on the other hand, is the natural process of breaking down organic matter.
Here are some examples of organic matter from the kitchen:
- Fruit and vegetable peels
- Rotten fruits and vegetables, etc.
Examples of organic matter you can find in your backyard, include:
- Grass clippings
- Dry leaves
- Tree branches, etc.
Other examples of organic matter you can add to your compost:
- Napkins and tissue, etc.
Examples of organic matter you should not add to you compost, since these will overheat your compost, cause it to smell, and attract all sorts of insects and animals. Therefore, these should be avoided from your compost:
- Dairy products, etc.
Why Should You Start Composting?
Plants love “Black Gold”. Term as it’s known in the gardening community.
It not only feeds your garden with natural, God-given nutrients, but also helps you save money that you could be using to buy fertilizer. It also reduces the amount of garbage you send to the landfills, hence reducing your carbon footprint.
How To Start Composting?
There are several ways of composting, here are the main ones:
- Aerobic composting
- Anaerobic composting
Also known as aerated or turned composting. This is a method of converting organic material into compost with the help of air. Here is how you can do this in your backyard:
- Get a bin, container, or better yet, a compost tumbler. If perhaps you want to go the traditional route, you can dig a pit.
- Get all your compost material and put them into your chosen medium, I will use a bin as an example.
- Leave your mixture without stirring or turning for roughly two weeks to allow the process of decomposing to kick-start.
- After two weeks have passed, start stirring two to three times a day, allowing air into the mixture.
- Make sure your composition doesn’t get too moist or too dry by watering it if dry and adding shredded newspaper if too wet.
- Continue the stirring and turning until your compost turns dark in color and reaches a soil-like appearance.
That is probably going to be after a month to three months depending on the size of your compost, the outdoor temperature, and materials added.
Also known as static composting. This is a method of decomposing or breaking down organic material without the presence of air.
Please don’t use this method if you live in a densely populated area because people will be complaining about the smell.
If you are still up for it, here’s how to make anaerobic compost:
- Choose the position of your compost in your yard.
- Choose the best medium for your compost: bin, container, or a pit.
- Gather all the organic matter that you want to decompose and put it into your chosen medium.
- Leave your compost for six to twelve months without touching or doing anything to it.
- To know it is ready it should be: dark brown, unrecognizable, and should have shrunk by half of the original material you put in.
Also known as worm composting. This is a method of decomposing organic matter with the help of worms. This method is great!
Firstly, because it has the least amount of odor produced and secondly, because it is the fastest natural method of making compost.
Vermicomposting can be made both indoors and outdoors which is great for people living in the city.
Here’s how to make vermicompost:
- Get a bin or container.
- Put in your bedding which includes dry organic material such as: shredded newspaper and dry leaves.
- Add in your wet organic materials such as: fruits and vegetable waste, grass clippings, teabags, etc.
- Put another layer of dry organic materials to deter fruit flies from being attracted.
- Moisten your organic matter and put in about a thousand to two thousand earthworms depending on the size of the compost. The best worms to use are called red wigglers.
- Feed your worms once or twice a week.
- If your compost is small, it can take as little as 4 weeks from the time of first feeding for it to be ready. If you have a bigger compost, you need to wait for 2-4 months until it turns dark brown and has a soil like appearance.
- There are different ways to harvest your worm compost:
- Sorting through the worms manually and taking the compost.
- You can stop feeding your worms for a week the put an easily digestible food like squash. This will force most of your worms to move to the squash then you will have ample space to gather the compost. This method is called the bait method.
- You can use the light method and put direct light on your compost. This will cause all worms to go deep in the mixture as possible to try and avoid the light. Worms hate the light, that is why they live underground.
Finally, apply the compost to your plants and give it away or sell it, if you have excess.
Making compost doesn’t only nourish your plants at home. It helps reduce the size of our landfills, thus reducing your carbon footprint, which makes the world a much better place.
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