Gardening

How to make compost step by step. Types of homemade compost

In today’s post we will see how to make homemade compost and what waste is used to compost . But … do we really know what compost is and what it is for ? To answer this question, I recommend that you read the article on home composting , with which we see in detail what are the advantages of compost , the types of materials needed and the best conditions to make a good home compost .

One of the main benefits of adding compost to the soil is to get a good fertilization of the substrate   so that the plants have more and better nutrients.

What waste is used to compost?

In the compost the nitrogen, cellulose and sugars or carbohydrates of the different residues must be balanced. To achieve this, it is important to use various types of materials or waste to compost: some green or “wet” (leaves and crop debris, freshly cut grass, kitchen waste …), and other drier ( dry branches, sawdust , pine bark, straw …).

It is also advisable to add soil or sand from the garden to the homemade compost , since the microorganisms it contains will help to decompose the waste that will form the future compost.

Both for composting in heap and in a compost bin or compost box, it is very important to alternate these materials in different layers so that a humid and rotten mass does not form inside with the green materials. So that this does not happen, it is also very important to ventilate and homogenize the waste by turning .

From the first month of compost, or if it is seen that the humidity is too high, it is important to remove it with a shovel from time to time to help reduce it.

How to make homemade compost in heap or in a compost box?

If you have a relatively large garden and outdoors you can choose to compost in a heap. You will make it directly on the ground (without paving) and preferably in a place with a slight slope so that, if there is an excess of water, it can be removed more easily.

A composter or compost box is very useful if you do not want the compost to be visible, if you do not have or do not want to occupy space in the soil of the garden or to protect it from rain and wind.

A composter will not make the composting process better or worse or faster, but it is true that a compost box or bin will be better aesthetically integrated into the garden or garden than what may seem like “a pile of garbage”, so It is a good option if you are guided by aesthetic criteria or want to make a decorative garden .

How to make garden compost

The compost pile should be as large as possible so that a high temperature is reached inside it that starts fermentation and the transformation of waste into compost . A width and height greater than one meter are sufficient for the right conditions to be met (the length may vary depending on the amount of waste you have).

You will have to make the pile in layers of about 15-20 cm:

  • First, in contact with the ground, you should put a layer of thick and cellulose-rich materials : twigs, bark and dry leaves, for example. In this way, you will prevent the lower part from rotting as a result of the weight and heat of the upper layers and the gaps between the branches will help the air to circulate and that microorganisms and insects can enter the compost pile.
  • On top of this first layer add another with the green harvest remains , which are rich in carbohydrates.
  • The third layer incorporates materials rich in nitrogen, such as manure (cow, sheep …).
  • Add a thin layer (2-5 cm) of soil .
  • You can then include materials rich in carbonates, to reduce the acidity of the pile, such as chopped eggshells or algae remnants.

You will continue adding layers until you reach the expected height. Once the pile is finished, cover it with dirt or sawdust. Remember that if you have not previously moistened the “dry” materials such as pruning debris, straw, etc. you must water the layers as you make the pile; in addition to adding water from time to time during the months that the composting process lasts, to maintain humidity , which is essential.

How to make homemade compost in a compost bin

To make compost at home we can find a lot of composting containers of different sizes on the market .

As we have already seen, composters have their advantages, but they are a bit uncomfortable when mixing or turning (and this is a very important action to accelerate the decomposition of waste). To solve this problem, there are some that have “doors” to remove the compost and mix it more easily.

You can also make a compost box yourself, with wooden pallets for example, but remember that it must have adequate ventilation and that it is preferable to have a free base so that the compost is in contact with the ground. (If this interests you, you can refer to the article I wrote on how to make a homemade compost bin with pallets .)

The procedure to prepare the compost in the compost box will be the same as with the compost in heap: you will have to alternate the “brown” waste with the “green” waste and kitchen scraps , and after a few months you will have obtained a well decomposed compost. Don’t forget to water it and turn it over from time to time.

If your orchard or garden is not very large and does not produce too much waste, you should use a small compost bin to compost , you can even use a pot as long as it has a hole in the bottom. As the kitchen waste will be more (which are more humid) than the vegetable remains from the garden, it is recommended that you put a layer of soil at the base and another on the top, to reduce bad odors and to absorb the leftover water.

More about home composting

If you want to know more about how to make homemade compost, take a look at the articles on our visits to the HuertAula Cantarranas and El Campo de Cebada leisure gardens  , where the gardeners of these community gardens tell us how to prepare the best natural compost and some tricks very interesting.

Also in the entry Garden Compost: 7 questions and answers   you can find more information about waste to compost or the benefits of composting in  the organic garden.

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