Gardeners, if you haven’t learned to compost for fertilization, autumn is the perfect time to start. Why? Of course, to take advantage of all these fallen leaves!
Composting is an economical and environmentally friendly way to fertilize your soil. It provides the richest growing soil on the market as it is rich in potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen.
They are basically duplicating Mother Nature’s plan for the most lush forests and natural gardens.
A gardener who composts helps the environment a lot by reusing what is otherwise treated as “rubbish” and only rotting on dumps and landfills.
It is estimated that such waste takes up about a third of the space in our municipal landfills. Why not use this material well and use it to grow our lawns and gardens?
Do you need special equipment?
A shredder is useful for your projects. This will make your material smaller so that you can store it more easily, and there are inexpensive gas or electric shredders available, especially if you shop online.
If you choose a machine, I would recommend spending a little more on a product with a little more power than you think necessary (trust me – you will use it) and buying something that will last for a while, such as these Earthquake chopper / shredder.
It is what I use and I can vouch for its performance and construction.
Earthquake 9060300 Chipper Shredder with 205cc 4-cycle Briggs and Stratton engine
Then make sure you have lots of bags and containers to store your composted material. You will probably want a large bucket in the kitchen specifically for organic waste. Make sure the bucket has a tight lid to keep animals and insects away.
You can also find great bargains on trash cans online. There are also beakers for efficiently mixing your organic matter.
You will also find a compost thermometer on hand to ensure that your stacks are decomposed efficiently.
What material can you use?
Autumn leaves are perfect for composting. Rake them and keep them for later shredding, or shred them as you continue.
Almost everything organic can be used. In the kitchen it can take some time for your family to be conditioned, but you will soon make it a habit to use the compost heap.
There you can Keep eggshells (crushed), Corn cobs (shred), peels, bark, peanut shells and coffee grounds. Milk and meat products can be used, but they will smell bad. So if you use them, you should bury them in your bucket among everything else – and make sure you use the lid!
You can put liquids like kitchen wash water in the container, but you should make sure that they are in the middle so that the other materials will rot.
Most home-sized compost heaps should avoid oil, fish, bones, or fat. They do not decompose efficiently and cause an unpleasant smell rather than help your garden.
However, fish and even bones break down in very large piles, are excellent for fertilization and provide the plants with the much-needed calcium. So if your stack is very big, do it!
Other common household materials
If you have pets, you may be tempted to use their droppings, fur, or hair.
While manure from many barn animals is excellent for fertilization, most pets are often carriers of the disease, even if the animal is not sick itself, and it is not advisable to use their droppings in your mixture.
The hair is fine, but it needs to be well distributed and not left in lumps.
Dead houseplants can be used, but must be handled with care, which is somewhat impractical. You don’t want a diseased plant to end up near a living plant that is a related species.
To kill disease, the plant must be exposed to heat and left to decay for several months. Certain types of diseased plants that are affected by very contagious pathogens, such as B. Branches suffering from fire blight should be burned immediately.
You can use the lint from your dryer in compost. You can use finely chopped newspapers in your material, but be sure to take out the smooth color pages. If you have a lot, it’s better to take it for recycling.
Small amounts of fireplace or wood stove ash can be added to your stack. Limit your ash consumption to two gallons per 3x3x3 bin.
Do not use charcoal ash, as it does not decompose and the sulfur and iron it contains can damage your plants.
If you live in an area with lots of pine trees, you will be relieved to know that you can shred and use them! They rot slowly, so chop or chop them as finely as possible.
Grass is a great source of nitrogen and therefore very desirable in your mix as long as it doesn’t contain additives or pesticides.
If you plan to use mown grass in your mix, make sure that no grass has been sprayed or treated and that you have spread it out to dry on your driveway or other surface for at least a day.
It should be sun-baked and have the consistency of straw before it can be added to your stack. It should then be mixed with some brown compost material so that it does not clump and smell.
If you live near the ocean, you can use kelp, and in fact it is known to be one of the best sources for it Nutrients for your soil. Just make sure you rinse the salt thoroughly first.
If you use weeds, hay, or old garden plants in your compost, make sure they are dry. If you have a smaller bunch, do not use weeds with large root systems or weeds to be sown.
This may be self-evident, but some people who have aged their piles thoroughly and have not brought them to a sufficiently high temperature are known to add weed material to their own future gardens.
However, if your bunch is large, kept moist, and allowed to have some air circulation, it will generally get hot enough to kill the seeds.
Herbivorous animal manure is an excellent composting material. Unlike in your garden, you don’t have to let the manure age. Simply change layers in a stack of leaves or straw.
This fresh manure provides a lot of nitrogen, which helps the helpful bacteria to break down the cellulose in the fiber and convert it into lignin. Lignin is one of the most important components of the soil and partly responsible for the “earthy” smell that we all love.
This material works similarly to peat moss that it allows for good airflow and drainage in the ground while at the same time retaining the moisture that the roots of the pants can access in drier periods.
Where should the stack be placed?
You want to put your pile on grass or earth so that you can use the worm activity. Place it on level ground where there is plenty of sun to dry out. You want it protected from the wind and probably your neighbors!
Large black containers are available in which solar heat can be stored and composted during the winter months. Trilateral shelters often work well too – you can use concrete blocks or fences to build.
When to compost
The composting plans often differ based on regional weather conditions. If you have cold winters in your area, you should start your stack in the spring.
However, if you have a very large bunch, it is possible to create enough warm conditions so that the heat-loving bacteria that unbuckle the material can thrive even in northern climates.
The effectiveness of your stack depends on the air circulation and the temperature. It needs to be ventilated. You can mix it regularly with a large garden fork or simply lay branches or tubes vertically in the stack.
Your compost heap should be between 104 and 131 degrees F. Optimally, you should only rotate the stack if it is below 104 or above 131 degrees. This keeps the heat even and most efficiently decomposes the stack.
The process can take up to a year or two. So wait until the decomposition is complete.
When and how to use the compost
You can tell that your compost is properly decomposed if you see very few pieces of material. It should have a crumbly consistency and a dark brown color.
If you are trying to create a lawn from scratch, you can use up to 5 cm of compost before spreading the seeds or laying the lawn. You can plan to maintain the lawn with a thin layer of a quarter to half an inch a year.
Your normal time to use the product is spring and summer during your normal gardening season.
In a garden, compost can be worked into the top six inches of the soil before planting, or a layer up to one inch thick can be spread over an existing garden.
It will continue to decompose in the soil. It can also be used when planting individual plants and around your bushes and trees.
You can also wrap it around existing plantings – the earthworms and other creepy creepy crawlers will eventually get a good portion of them into the ground.
If you choose composting, you know that you are using the most natural gardening method available and doing the earth a great favor. Have fun composting!