Gardening

What is compost and how to make it at home

What is compost?

Compost is a natural compost created from the action of bacteria, fungi and worms on organic or biological waste in your home (food scraps, dry plants, etc.). It has a triple function : to serve as compost to improve the properties of the soil in our garden, it serves as food for the plants and, at the same time, we recycle the household waste using it for compost. The benefit of compost is scientifically tested and, unlike the simple mineral fertilization, the compost helps to conserve and improve the fertility of the land. Compost is a strategic environmental solution to counteract the problem of the disposal of domestic organic solid waste that arises in large urban concentrations.

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How to compost if you live in a confined space?

To make compost we will need:

Green or wet matter:

Provides nitrogen such as: fresh leaves that are healthy, grass, kitchen scraps (peels and skins of uncooked vegetables, fruits, vegetables and legumes, eggshells, coffee grounds , used tea bags)

Brown or dry matter:

Provides carbon such as: litter and dry branches, straw, wood shavings, cardboard or paper that does not contain ink, napkins, toilet paper tubes.

Humidity:
It is important that it has enough humidity, that it does not puddle but rots and if it smells bad, if it happens there is a remedy , we add more brown material to absorb the excess moisture. An effective compost pile should have a moisture content of between 40-60%. That degree of humidity is enough for life to exist in the compost pile and for bacteria to perform their function. The ratio is 3 parts brown to 1 part green.

WARNING: Never put dairy, egg yolks, meat and fish residues in the compost (they produce odors and attract rodents), diseased plants, fat, animal defecation and charcoal .

 

 What is Compost and How to Do It

Where to compost?

You can buy a commercial compost bin, or you can make your own using a plastic container with a lid that will have many small holes in the lid and holes in the bottom and sides of the container for aeration and drainage. Cover the holes with tight metal mesh to prevent animals from entering that we do not want in our compost. You can also do it in a large pot and hide your compost by placing dry leaves on the surface and mixing this pot with the rest of your plants.

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Steps to follow

A kind of lasagna is made by alternating the layers of brown and green material and placing a layer of soil of approximately 3 cm between each of them to provide the necessary microorganisms for decomposition

– Cover the bottom of the container or pot with some of the brown or dry material

– 3 cm of soil.


– green leaves and debris,


– 3cm of soil,


– brown or dry material,


– 3cm of soil


– finally litter

 What is Compost and How to Do It

Once a week, remove all the ingredients from your compost.

Integrate all the elements and add small portions of water to keep them moist this will make the decomposition effective and fast.


The most important thing in a good compost is not its size but that it is well balanced.

Moisture or dryness is essential to have a good compost.

If it is dry, you will see it because you will recognize the remains of food without decomposing.


If it is wet it will give off a
bad smell if you have it outdoors, put an old cloth on it to cover it from the rain.

When you can no longer distinguish what there is by its state of decomposition, use it as compost.


Place all the organic waste that you generate daily.
(Fruit peels, inedible parts of vegetables, paper napkins, among others) Remember then to cover them with a thin layer of soil.

* If ants appear in your compost, it means that it is very dry. You have to add water.

* To avoid flies, mosquitoes and worms, bury fresh food scraps well.

Important data to always keep in mind:

Nitrogen (N): it is essential to make the plant grow and it is usually the one that we want to predominate in only green plants, since we do not need it to activate any flowering.

Phosphorus (P): It favors the growth of the roots and therefore also influences the production of flowers and the general growth of the plant.If the roots grow and grow well, the plant will grow well and its flowers will appear when they should appear.

Potassium (K): Influences flowering and especially the color of the flowers.

Magnesium (Mg) : It is essential for the formation of chlorophyll. It is good to throw it in those cases in which we have a clear Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaf)

Based on this knowledge we can create our own fertilizer formula according to the type of plant we want to fertilize. For example, we can include firewood ash since they provide potassium that favors flowering. We must be moderate in its use because excess potassium blocks the absorption of magnesium in vegetables. Also keep in mind that depending on the amount we use we can modify the pH of the soil.

 

Additional and Complementary Information

The fastest composting takes place when there is a (dry) carbon-nitrogen ratio between 25/1 and 30/1, that is, there is between 25 and 30 times more carbon than nitrogen.
For this reason, many times different components of different C / N ratios are mixed.

Grass clippings have a 19/1 ratio and dry leaves 55/1. Mixing both in equal parts, an optimal raw material is obtained. The presence of cellulose (a source of carbon) is also necessary, which the bacteria transform into sugars and energy, as well as proteins (a source of nitrogen) that allow the development of bacteria.

Greasy food scraps, meats, dairy, and eggs should not be used for composting because they tend to attract insects and other unwanted animals. Eggshell, however, is a good source of inorganic nutrients (especially calcium carbonate) for the soil even though if it is not previously cooked it takes more than a year to decompose.

The ideal temperature is around 60ºC. Thus, most pathogens and unwanted seeds die while creating an ideal environment for thermophilic bacteria, which are the fastest decomposition agents. In fact, the center of the pile should be hot (hot enough to burn when touched by hand). If this does not happen, one of the following may be happening: There is too much moisture in the pile, reducing the amount of oxygen available to bacteria. The pile is very dry and the bacteria do not have enough moisture to live and reproduce. Not enough protein (nitrogen-rich material) The solution usually goes through the addition of material or the turning of the pile to aerate.

very easy
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