how to make compost at home

How to Compost at Home

Home composting makes the most out of organic waste and unwanted extras in our homes by turning them into fertile soil to boost the productivity of gardens and landscapes in general. 

Composting is a whole complicated system, and everyone needs to figure out what works best for them. If you have considered starting composting but don't know where to start, then you are in the right place. Here, we will give you all the information that you need to effectively compost at home. Let's get started. 

What is Compost?

Compost is organic material that you can add to the soil to help plants grow. The process of turning these organic wastes into useable soil is called composting.

For science lovers, it’s actually pretty cool. Microorganisms work together to break down organic materials like leftover vegetable stems, fruit peels, and eggshells to create nutrient-rich soil suitable for growing all sorts of plants. 

According to NPR, Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 20% of what we throw away and could be composted instead. Composting can help you greatly reduce the amount of food waste you send to a landfill.

How To Get Started

When it comes to composting, everyone has their own different level of commitment. For some, a rot pile in the backyard will do, while others like to apply the rigors of science and constant vigilance to ensure the most effective and timely compost. 

Regardless of your level of experience, there is an endless selection of composting bins, tumblers, and supplies to choose from for the job. But first, you need to know what goes and what doesn't go into the compost bin.

What Goes In

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Teabags
  • Nutshells
  • paper
  • Houseplants
  • Leaves
  • Wood chips
  • Hair and fur
  • Fireplace ashes

What Doesn't Go In

  • Coal or charcoal ash may contain substances harmful to the plant
  • Fats, grease, or oils create odor problems and attract pests to the surrounding.
  • Pet wastes might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans and plants.
  • Meat or bones can attract pests, and also take a longer time to decompose.

After knowing what to compost, it is now time to get the hard work done. The more you have an organized and systematic approach to composting, the better your finished product will be. Here are some steps to see you through. 

1. Select a site for your bin. 

If you have neighbors nearby who may have a problem, consider a discreet location. You’ll also want to identify a spot with good airflow, access to water, and partial shade in the summer to keep the pile from getting too hot. Also, go for a space close and within easier rich, you don't want to go too far just to check up on the bin. 

2. Choose a suitable bin. 

You can purchase a composter or make use of what you already have. There is a wide variety in the market, including rotating bins. 

Rotating bins make turning your treasure compost easy and keep pests and other animals out. However, if you are low on cash, it is easy to design a workable bin on your own. One simple method is to track down a few shipping pallets. Use one for the bottom. Pound in metal support poles and add pallets by slipping them over the support poles to make your bin’s walls. Inside, you can put your pile of compost, with the suited size for it to make its heat but easy for you to turn.

3. Add The Materials

You are now ready to compost. Choose your materials carefully and mix them well inside the bin or in the pile. One crucial key to successful composting is having a mix of “greens” and “browns” in your compost bin. Greens constitute foods scraps and grass trimmings while browns are dry leaves, newspaper, and cardboard. Greens are not that hard to gather, but browns are. To make sure that you have enough browns, collect leaves in the fall in a large container and keep it next to the compost bin. Then dump the pail of food scraps in, cover it with a layer of leaves, and then mix them together using a pitchfork. 

4. Monitor Your Compost

Your pile won't just compost overnight, you have to regularly check on it and maintain the optimum levels of all conditions necessary, including:

  • Temperature

Testing your compost’s temperature is easy. Just stick your hand in the center of the pile. If it is hot or warm, great job. If it is the same temperature as the ambient air, the micro-organisms have slowed down, and so has the process of composting. 

  • Moisture

Microbes require just the right amount of water to keep them hard at work on your compost. The compost should feel a bit moist, but not soaking wet. Excess moisture means organic waste won’t decompose, too little and the bacteria die. That's how fragile the process is. 

  • Aeration

Everyone needs to breathe, even tiny microorganisms. Make sure that enough oxygen is getting into your pile all the time by turning your compost often. Use a compost aerator or pitchfork to mix your pile. If you are using a rotating bin, you’ve got it easier.

Remember to always keep your compost covered. It can sometimes get overrun by flies. 

Your first batch of compost will take some time to cook. It can even go as much as a year at first, so give it some time. When compost is ready, it resembles very rich soil, dark brown in color. 

Most bins have a small door in the bottom where you can check if the compost is ready. It has a musky, earthy smell and not a bad odor. You can mix rich compost with garden soil, or you can just pile it on the soil as mulch.
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