Nowadays, the majority of gardeners prefer making homemade compost. Homemade compost is much cheaper yet delivers excellent functionality.
On the other hand, purchasing compost from your local garden store can take a toll on your budget.
Fortunately, you can use organic kitchen waste to make compost at home. Nevertheless, ensure you follow the correct procedure when making homemade compost and arm yourself with the appropriate gardening tools.
How to make compost at home
Step 1: Start from the ground
The first thing to do is to understand that you need to create your compost from the ground. So, find a suitable location to start making your compost. A good site contains beneficial microorganisms that boost proper aeration. Hence, it will foster the formation of quality compost. Note that the ground should be bare.
Step 2: Lay twigs or straw first
Once you find a suitable platform for creating your compost, start laying your twigs or straw. Typically, these ingredients help in fostering maximum aeration in the compost.
Step 3: Add compost ingredients
Take all your compost ingredients and start laying them one by one. Some of the most popular compost ingredients include leaves, tea bags, wood ash, wood chips and food scraps. If you are using wood ash, be careful to spread a thin layer. This is because wood ash tends to build up on the compost, hence slowing down the composting process.
Step 4: Add manure
Manure is a fantastic ingredient for compost. Generally, manure speeds up the composting process. Consequently, manure helps the plants to receive adequate nutrients. However, manure contains a high level of phosphorus. So, use it in minimal quantities. Otherwise, it would damage the plants.
Step 5: Keep compost moist
Once you lay all the compost ingredients, water frequently. If you live in wet regions, the rain will do the work of watering your compost. But note that the compost should not stay moist or soggy.
Step 6: Cover the compost
Use carpet scraps, wood, or plastic sheets to cover the compost. The primary objective of covering the compost is to keep the heat and moisture locked in the compost. Covering the compost also protects it from getting soggy when it’s raining.
Step 7: Turn the compost
Use a shovel to turn the compost at least once a week. Doing this enables the compost to receive proper aeration. After some time, continue mixing other composting materials with the compost.
Turning the compost also speeds up the breakdown process. If you don’t have time to do this, consider buying a rotating compost tumbler. This composter makes it easier for you to turn the compost mix from time to time.
Different composting methods
- “No-Turn” Composting method
As the name suggests, this method involves creating compost without turning it. Indisputably, turning the compost frequently can be exhausting. Luckily you can avoid this process and still make rich compost.
If you don’t want to turn your compost, consider adding a lot of coarse materials like straw that promote aeration. Also, continue adding more materials at the top of the compost. Doing this helps you create a quality compost pile.
- DIY Compost Bin
When making compost at home, you can use a DIY compost bin. The bin should be bulky and robust to support the weight of the compost. Also, it should contain holes to allow for proper aeration. Once you place the composting materials in the bin, mix them thoroughly to fasten the breakdown process.
Also remember to pick compost bins that go well with you backyard landscape to ensure that you garden does no look untidy.
Tips to making best compost
- Activate Your Compost:
If you want to create quality compost within a short period, consider using compost activators. Activators help you speed up the composting process. Some of the most common activators you can use include grass clippings and rotted chicken manure. You can also get compost activators from your nearest garden store.
- Protect compost from Flying Insects:
Fruit flies, among other flying insects, often love encompassing the compost pile from time to time. So, cover the compost using grass clippings to keep them off. Also, consider spreading calcium or lime on the compost to distract flying insects.
The best container for composting
One of the secrets to successful composting is to use the correct container. Using the wrong container during the composting process undoubtedly interferes with the quality of your compost.
Nowadays, there is a broad spectrum of compost containers to use. Below, we take a look at some of the best containers for composting in 2021.
1.FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter
This large outdoor composter enables you to obtain fresh compost for your plants. It has a capacity of 37 gallons; hence it can hold a lot of materials. Also, it is user-friendly; thus, it gives you an easy time when turning the compost.
The FCMP tumbling composter contains interior bins that handle different batches of compost at the same time. Fostering maximum aeration in this composter requires you to turn it after every two days. This composter gets your compost ready in 14 days.
2. Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost Bin
The Algreen products composter has a secure lid that enables you to cover and uncover the compost whenever you want to. This compost bin incorporates thick black plastic walls that retain a favorable temperature.
It also has an opening at the bottom to allow the penetration of beneficial microorganisms and moisture. Therefore, for best results, you have to place it on the ground. This composter is ideal for homeowners who have average yard spaces.
3. Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin
This composter is specially designed to hold kitchen waste before you take it outdoors. It contains strong and durable steel material that offers maximum longevity. This bin also has charcoal filters that safeguard the kitchen waste from pests. Here, you can always place your kitchen waste until you decide to take it outside.
4. SCD Probiotics All Seasons Indoor Composter
This composter is the best if you want your kitchen to stay fresh at all times. Unlike other composters, the SCD probiotics is specially designed for indoor use and does not leak bad odors in your kitchen. Nonetheless, this composter does not complete the composting process.
So, you have to take your materials outdoors to ensure they break down completely. This composter releases concentrated compost tea. So, be sure to dilute the compost tea before using it as your fertilizer.
5. Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter
Do you have limited garden space? Consider purchasing the worm factory 360 composter. This composter is ideal for any city gardener who has a small yard. The worm factory measures two by 2 feet and has four trays to handle a good percentage of compost.
This composter comes with a scraper, thermometer, worm ladders, and rock dust nutrients. One of the best things about this composter is that it is easy to operate.
Factors to consider when choosing a compost bin
Opt for either the Conventional vs. Worm Composting bin
The first thing to do is to select the type of compost bin you need. So, evaluate your compost requirements first. Both worm and conventional composting are great ways to achieve quality compost. But the method you choose will depend on the yard space and life habits.
- Conventional composting: This type of composting often involves blending compost materials on a 30:1 carbon and nitrogen ratio, respectively. Nitrogen ingredients include grass clippings, vegetable waste, among other green waste. On the other hand, carbon compost materials include coffee grounds and dead leaves.
- Worm composting: Conversely, worm composting incorporates using red wiggler worms to generate castings. Worm manure is rich in phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. Worms are beneficial since they keep the compost aerated. Worm compost bins only thrive in temperatures of approximately 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It would be best to place them in shady spots.
Size of the compost bin
Another factor you need to consider before purchasing a compost bin is the size. Typically, the size of the compost bin should accommodate the entire compost. If you plan to make large quantities of compost, then settle for a bigger compost bin.
Smaller compost bins cannot hold large amounts of organic matter. However, note that the bigger the compost bin, the longer the decomposition process.
Material of the compost bin
At present, there is a wide range of compost bins. Each offers unique functionality and incorporates different materials. There are metal, wood, and even plastic compost bins. Nevertheless, black plastic compost bins are the most popular option among gardeners. But why?
Dark-colored compost bins take up and retain heat; hence, they maintain a favorable temperature and reduce the evaporation rate in the bin. Also, the material used to make the compost bin should be weather-resistant.
Shape of your compost bin:
Always make sure that your compost bin complements the shape of your outdoor or indoor garden space. Most compost bins are rectangular, cylindrical, and pyramid-shaped. If you have small yard space, consider purchasing a rectangular compost bin. They fit well in tight spaces and corners.
Compost odor Control:
The compost bin you purchase should be able to control odor. A good compost bin should have aeration to prevent leakage of bad odors in the room. Gardening veterans always advise going for a bin with charcoal filters that helps you control odor.
Location of your compost:
Before purchasing your compost bin, identify a suitable location to place it. Doing this helps you buy the right size and type of compost bins. Most compost bins thrive both in indoor and outdoor spaces.
But some only work best when placed outside. Ensure your compost bin complements the location. The heat from the sun usually fastens the decomposition process. So, if possible, purchase an outdoor compost bin and place it outside under the sun.
Make organic compost for your backyard garden
From this article, it is clear to see that you can compost at home. Creating homemade compost is not as complex as most people think. All you have to do is follow the right steps.
The main advantage of homemade compost and mulch is that it is very affordable. You won’t spend much when creating homemade compost. It is essential to find an appropriate compost bin where you can make your compost for your garden.
Currently, the best compost bin you can purchase is the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter. Before buying a compost bin, it is essential to evaluate your requirements.