How to Create Compost for Plant Food and Waste Reduction

Composting at home has a terrible reputation. Common misunderstandings about home composting include that it is too tricky smells awful and is messy. These are true if you compost incorrectly, but learning how to compost correctly is actually fairly simple. Begin with an organic layer, add a dash of soil and a splash of water, and wait for your concoction to transform into humus (the finest soil booster available!). You can then use compost to enrich your flower garden, top treat your lawn, feed your growing vegetables, and do other things. Once you’ve established your compost pile, you’ll discover that it’s a simple way to convert kitchen scraps and other organic materials into something that will help your plants thrive.

How to Create Compost for Plant Food and Waste Reduction

What Should You Compost?

Composting at home is a terrific method to use up items in your refrigerator that are beyond their prime, reducing food waste. You can also compost certain types of yard trash rather than dumping them. Gather the following ingredients to get your compost pile off to a good start:
discarded fruit

  • Bits of vegetables
  • Ground coffee
  • Eggshells (but they can take a while to break down) (though they can take a while to break down)
  • Plant and grass clippings
  • Leaves that are dry
  • Wood and bark chips, finely chopped
  • Newspaper shreds
  • Straw
  • Untreated wood sawdust

Keep a container in your kitchen, such as this white ceramic compost bucket, to collect composting materials as you prepare meals. You can create your own indoor or outdoor compost bin if you don’t want to buy one. Another alternative for kitchen scraps that could spoil rapidly is to store them in the freezer until you are ready to add them to your larger outside pile.

 

How to Construct Hot Compost

1. Green and brown materials should be combined.

Wait until you have enough materials to build a 3-foot-deep pile before starting your own hot compost heap. You’ll want to mix your moist (green) goods with your dry (brown) items. Dried plant debris, fallen leaves, shredded tree branches, cardboard, newspaper, hay, straw, and wood shavings are examples of brown materials. These objects emit carbon dioxide. Kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, animal manures (but not from dogs or cats), and fresh plant and grass cuttings are examples of green materials. These items contribute nitrogen. Start your compost pile by combining three parts brown materials and one part green material for the best results. If your compost pile appears to be overly wet and stinks, add more brown things or aerate it more frequently. If it appears to be particularly brown and dried, add green items and water to moisten it slightly.

2. Maintain Your Compost Pile

Water the compost pile on a regular basis until it has the consistency of a damp sponge. If you add too much water, your compost pile’s microorganisms will become waterlogged and drown. If this occurs, your pile will rot rather than compost. A compost thermometer can be used to check the temperature of your compost pile to ensure that the components are decomposing appropriately. Alternatively, simply reach your hand into the center of the compost pile. Your compost pile should be warm to the touch.

 

3. Turn Over Your Compost Pile

During the growing season, offer oxygen to the compost pile by rotating it once a week using a garden fork ($40, The Home Depot). When the center of the pile feels warm or a thermometer reads between 130 and 150 degrees F, it’s time to flip the compost. Stirring the compost pile speeds up the cooking process and keeps items from becoming matted and generating an odor. The brown and green layers have served their role at this stage, so it’s safe to completely combine the two components.

 

4. Compost Can Help Your Garden

The compost pile is fully cooked and ready to feed to the garden when it no longer emits heat and turns dry, brown, and crumbly. At the start of each planting season, add 4 to 6 inches of compost to your flower beds and a thick coating to the tops of the pots.

Compost tea is made by some gardeners using finished compost. This entails soaking fully formed compost in water for several days before separating it and using it as a homemade liquid fertilizer.

Because every gardener is unique, you must determine which composting method best suits your needs. Fortunately, no matter which method you use, composting at home is simple and environmentally benign. It’s also good for your garden. You can have the happiest garden on the block with just a few kitchen scraps and some patience.

Composting Types:

Before you begin, you should be aware that there are various forms of composting. We’ll go through cold compost, hot compost, and vermicompost in this section. Collecting yard waste or taking out organic things in your trash (such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells) and corralling them in a mound or bin is all that is required for cold composting. The substance will disintegrate over the course of a year or so.

Hot composting needs more effort on your part, but the benefit is that it is a speedier process; you’ll get compost in one to three months during warm weather. Nitrogen, carbon, air, and water are the four elements required for a fast-cooking hot compost. These things, when combined, feed microbes, hastening the degradation process. When there is a lot of garden waste in the spring or fall, you can make a big batch of compost and then start another one while the first one “cooks.”

Vermicompost, which is made with the help of worms, is another sort of compost. When these worms consume your food leftovers, they produce castings that are high in nitrogen. You can’t just use any worm for this. Redworms are required (also called “red wigglers”). Composting worms can be acquired at a low cost online or from a garden supply store.