Compost FAQ: Everything you need to know

In these autumn days, the topic of compost is something that comes up in every orchard. What can I use, how do I mount it in my garden…these are questions that we will try to discuss with you in the next few paragraphs.

Starting materials and mature compost

What is compost?

Well, let’s start the topic of the questions with the clearest one, which is the one that I have exposed in the previous title. Searching in the RAE its definition is:

Humus artificially obtained by hot biochemical decomposition of organic waste

As Jack says, let’s go by parts, with composting we are achieving the biological decomposition of organic material, but; In case there is someone reading this article who does not have a garden right now, do not think that he does not have to compost. Yes you can, since composting not only serves to fertilize our garden soil, it also serves to reduce the volume of organic waste that we generate in our home. And those who have a garden, you can perform both actions.

What we are doing is creating an optimal environment for microorganisms that feed on organic matter and transform the complex organic molecules that make up living beings into simpler elements that plants can feed on.

What is organic matter in compost?

Organic matter is that matter formed by organic compounds that were once part of a living organism. Most of the elements found are carbon and nitrogen.

Starting from this, it is important to compost for two reasons: 1, that we better understand why composting is important, since it is a way of «returning» to the earth that material that has been used at the time for a organism; 2, the carbon-nitrogen ratio.

Organic matter that decomposes slowly will be high in carbon, and organic matter that degrades and smells strongly of ammonia will be high in nitrogen. For those who have doubts, the compost should not have a strong ammonia smell and the decomposition should be gradual.

Where do I compost?

Some time ago, my colleague Lucía made a great article entitled « How to make homemade compost step by step » that I have already seen that many of you know since it is one of the articles that has the most visits on In it you will be able to see that the compost can be made in heaps, in commercial composters or in homemade composters.

heap composting
Commercial composter made from recycled plastic

See best price recycled plastic composter

Homemade compost bin made from boards

For more information, I recommend that you watch the video that Álvaro made for our YouTube channel, where he makes his compost with some pallets:

What can I throw to make Compost?

In the video, Álvaro advances us some concept such as dry and wet matter. Well, dry or brown matter refers to dry leaves like the ones we can find in the middle of autumn on the street. On the other hand, the wet or green matter refers to what Álvaro has thrown into his compost bin, weeds that we have cut, parts of plants that we are no longer going to use…

The important thing about this is that we cannot allow a dry part and a wet part to be generated in the compost bin. For this, it is very important that good ventilation is created and turning is applied from the first month.

OH! Something that you are wondering now with this first month, is how long the composting process lasts. Approximately this whole process can last between three months and a year, and the duration depends on the frequency with which we add more organic matter to our pile in the compost bin. Logically, the more we add, the process will be slower. What we want to finally get to is to obtain humus, remember that.

Finally, it is also recommended that you put part of the soil on which you are going to use the compost into the pile, so that it adapts to the conditions of the garden. Those of you who don’t have a garden and want to compost at home can use sawdust.

Can kitchen waste be composted?

In this you have to be careful, vegetable waste can be treated in the same way as waste from the garden or orchard. As for meat or fish, surely due to the degradation and oxidation that occur, unpleasant odors are generated, cover it with sawdust to prevent the smell. Coffee grounds can also be used.

Perhaps this article will generate more questions that you can ask in the forum and we will solve them for you immediately. I hope that you have solved any doubt and soon we will return with more articles.

See you in the orchard

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