Composting Tips / Conserving Valuable Resources
Composting, often described as nature’s way of recycling, is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, worms, and coffee grounds, etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen.
Actinomycetes are similar to fungus in the way they grow and spread, but its distinguishing elements are that the types of materials they are efficient at decomposing. The active nature in this microscopic bacteria and the sheer number present (about 10 million per 1 gram of soil), make them highly effective at breaking down materials like tree bark, newspaper, and other hard organic material.
Today, the use of composting to turn organic wastes into a valuable resource is expanding rapidly in many countries, as landfill space becomes scarce and expensive, and as people become more aware of the impact they have on the environment.
Composting Tips / Joining a Popular Trend
The rate at which population is growing in the world demands serious attention to the land space available today. Also it has resulted in increased pollution levels throughout the globe. Consequently, composting has become an extremely popular trend in today’s world.
It has been practiced by farmers and gardeners throughout the world for many centuries but its importance nowadays has increased greatly. Besides compost’s ability to battle climate change and greenhouse gases, reduce green waste and increase landfill space, compost enhances plant and forest seedling crops in reforestation projects, prevents plant disease, controls erosion, remediates contaminated soil, helps prevent pollution, and enriches garden’s plants and flowers.
Composting Tips / 8 Ways to a Healthy Compost
There are a variety of ways to effectively turn your organic matter into nutrient-rich, earthy compost – black gold, as some gardeners term it. Here are few important composting tips every composter should institute:
- Proper ratio of browns to greens: - Make sure you have about a 50/50 mix of brown to green materials, or slightly more browns. Brown material is the energy needed for microbes to thrive, and green material is the protein. Build the materials up by layers – some green, then some brown. (As a side note, you might hear of a 30:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio. Don’t worry about this, because all green materials are also mainly carbon, so a 50/50 mix closely achieves this ratio.)
- Water It: - Make an indentation in the top to hold water and sprinkle with a garden hose when it appears dry. Keep it moist, but not wet – basically, as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Beneficial organisms cannot survive in soggy conditions. If the compost dries out, decomposition will stop. Too wet and it will begin to smell.
- Aeration: - Turning your compost with a pitchfork or other garden tool will make the material decompose faster. This is because the microbes that are busy chewing away at your pile need oxygen, so the more you give them, the healthier they will be. This leads to a faster and less odorous process.
- Warmth: – In cold winters microbial activity will nearly stop whereas in the summer, microbes are most active. Their activity generates internal heat. Use a compost thermometer to see how well your compost is doing. Do not disturb the pile, but if the temperature peaks and starts to fall, aerate and turn the pile to let more oxygen in. Compost decomposes fastest between 120 and 160 degrees F.
- Pile size: – Compost bins should be small enough to aerate properly, but also large enough to maintain internal heat. Minimum dimensions should be 3 ft by 3 ft by 3 ft.
- Vermicomposting: – To increase the decomposition process even further, add some red worms to the top of your compost. Red wrigglers are mainly used for this purpose.
- Size of organic materials: – The smaller the organic pieces you place in your compost, the less surface area it will have and the faster it will decompose. A good guideline is to add materials no larger than 2 or 3 inches. Chop up your melon rinds and shred your roots, bark and newspaper. Also, avoid clumping, such as what happens with grass clippings. Mix your grass with dry leaves or shredded newsprint first. Also coffee grounds help create an acidic environment, and worms love them.
- What not to compost: – Do not compost fats, pet droppings, or animal products. They will attract pests to the pile and can spread disease. Plants that have been treated with pesticides and/or herbicides (weeds and lawn clippings) should be avoided.
By following these composting tips, you can make your compost experience better for you and your family as well as produce a luscious end result.
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