Compost is a process of decomposing organic matter. Through composting, we get fertile and high-quality soil used for gardens to improve the plants’ growth and health. Not only do we get healthier fruits and vegetables from our garden, but we also reuse the kitchen and garden waste and, this way, reduce food waste.
Composting is a relatively simple technique. It requires only four main ingredients; brown matter, green matter, oxygen and water.
Browns are carbon-rich material and include dried fallen leaves, twigs, manure, cardboard and paper. On the other hand, greens are nitrogen-rich material such as green leaves and plants from the garden, lawn clippings, and kitchen scraps.
Keep in mind that meat, dairy and bread should never be used in compost because they attract pests that could spoil the compost. Also, do not use plants that have been treated with chemicals. You want to keep your compost as organic as possible.
Always use brown and green material in a 1:1 ratio. If you previously chop and shred the material, the composting process will be quicker.
Getting enough oxygen is essential for successful compost. By turning the compost every 2-4 weeks, you will speed up the process and give enough air to the composting pile. However, turning the materials every 4-5 weeks is also acceptable, although it makes the whole process somewhat slower. When turning, always bring the outer parts to the center and the center part to the edges. During the summer, composting is quicker because of the higher temperatures, and during winter, it slows down. It is recommended that after November, you don’t turn the pile anymore since the center holds the heat necessary for decomposing.
Compost should have enough moisture to keep the process steady. Thus, it is necessary to water the compost until it looks like a wet sponge. Suppose the pile is too dry after adding the dry brown material, water the compost, so the process doesn’t slow down too much. Equally, after adding the greens, keep enough browns aside to keep the same amount of greens and browns. If you want to add more kitchen waste, do so when turning the pile, making sure you put it in the center. After every turning, cover the compost with a tarp or a sack.
While the outdoor composting attracts enough bacteria and microorganisms responsible for breaking down the added material, you can always use soil or pre-made compost to speed up the process. Store-bought compost starters can be used when starting composting, but if you follow the 1:1 ratio of browns and greens, there is no need for such products.
When choosing a compost bin, you can find many options and sizes in any garden shop. Another option is to make your own compost bin from wood or any other material you like.
Place the compost in a place with enough shade and with contact to the ground.
Depending on the season and the frequency of turning the pile, compost will be ready in 8-12 weeks.