Backyard composting 101 can have a substantial impact to aid gardening and lawn care. It’s not a passing trend that will be forgotten, so if you have the right conditions and preparation, you should start a compost pile for yourself.
Gardeners have known for a while how beneficial using compost as a soil amendment is. Homeowners are slowly becoming aware that compost can be incredibly useful in their lawns.
What Is Composting?
Organic composting is a natural process where a pile of yard waste and kitchen scraps is broken down. Mix the right ingredients in the right proportions and bacteria, fungi, and worms produce an organic material that praised as “black gold.” The precious organic matter is then added to the soil to improve its structure, fertility, and water holding capacity.
The composting process needs four plus one components to happen:
In the presence of moisture and oxygen, two types of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, bugs, and worms to work in three stages to create compost. How long the entire process takes depends on how involved you are, the size of your pile, and what you put into it. The right balance of ingredients allows microorganisms to decompose carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) so plant life can further extract nutrients and grow to release oxygen (O2) back in the atmosphere. The more nutrient soil is, the more greenery will thrive.
The Materials in a Compost Pile
Most decomposable materials in compost piles can be classified as either brown or green materials, depending on their makeup.
Materials for composting: BROWN & GREEN
Brown materials are carbon-rich items that provide energy to the microorganisms in the pile and give compost its light, fluffy body. Typical brown items are more wood-based, or fibrous: dry leaves, branches, stems, sawdust, tree bark, shredded newspaper, corn stalks, wood ash, and pine needles.
Green materials are nitrogen-based waste materials. They provide amino acids and proteins needed for the bacteria and fungi to do their job. Manures, food scraps, coffee grounds, green leaves, and grass clippings are excellent nitrogen-rich green materials. A simple rule of thumb is to make sure the compost pile has approximately 2/3 “brown” materials and 1/3 “green” materials.
There are many different ways to make compost in your back yard; the main difference is where you pile your materials or use a composter. The different methods for backyard composting 101 offer flexibility and vary in cost and difficulty.
Piling is a simple, common process. Materials are literally heaped into a pile and turned periodically to aerate.
Composting bins are either open or enclosed bins that contain everything. Open bins are a partial structure allowing for ventilation and aeration while keeping materials confined. One side is easily accessible to add materials and turn the pile. Enclosed bins completely enclose the process via a lid and eliminate both the sight of a compost pile and the smell.
Tumblers are a unique, efficient type of enclosed compost bin. Cylindrical in nature, a tumbler has hand-hold insets or a handle that allows it to be “turned” or tumbled easily.
What Foods Can composted?
Fruit or Vegetable leftovers
What can’t composted:
Animal byproducts – dairy, bones, and meat,
Foods rich on fat and oil – mayonnaise, peanut butter, salad dressing or vegetable oils
Feces – dog, cat or human
Garden waste treated with pesticides
Garden waste from sick plants
Weeds will grow instead of decomposing
How to Tell When Your Compost is Ready
When all of the waste has been broken down, and the compost is ready to use the temperature of the pile will drop dramatically. The resulting material will look and feel like really dark, rich soil with a deep, earthy smell.
Have you started compost? If so, please leave a comment