This is one of my sequel from my earlier blogs about the importance of going Organic and the real meaning of going organic. Compost is an integral part of Organic Gardening. In this blog, I want to share some thoughts about basics of Composting.
What is Compost:
The word “Compost” comes from two Latin roots, “Com” means “together” and “Post” means “to bring”. So basically Compost means To bring together. You bring various things and mix them all together to form a compost.
Composting is based on the principle of return. As humans, we reap things from the earth in the form of produce. But we are not alone, many other life forms also come into play and make the total cycle run. It is vital to also give something back to the earth. The compost is a way of using up what we have in abundance to repay a long-standing debt to the earth.
Using compost in gardens is a win-win scenario. Compost not only feeds to soil and plants but also does it in a most efficient manner. It’s organic, it’s free and it’s easy. Here are some reasons why you should go for composting.
- Compost not only contains the major elements that your plants need for the ultimate growth such as Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) but also the trace elements. Elements such as Boron, Cobalt, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, and Zinc that are sometimes overlooked by the gardeners are present in organic compost. This is due to their varied sources. You can read more about compost ingredients to get a clearer idea.
- The release rate of nutrients is suitable for your plant’s need. In the spring, when the plants just started to grow, the microorganisms in compost release the nutrients slowly. As the weather starts getting warmer plants growth become more rapid and so as the release rate of nutrients. Compost is the nature’s way of controlling the release rate of nutrients.
- Compost increases the water retention capacity of the soil. They can hold water up to 200% of its dry weight. So you need to water less.
- Compost adds micro-organism and larger creatures such as earthworms and insects, which are natural soil builders.
- Compost binds with cadmium and lead and thus neutralize the toxin present in the soil and prevents plants from taking up those materials.
- Acts as a pH buffer as you can lower the pH by adding compost made from an acidic raw material such as oak, sawdust, etc.
- Compost is FREE. It won’t cost you money.
- You will reduce the cost of waste disposal.
There are four parts of a composting process
- Composting ingredients
Compost ingredients: This has to be organic. it can be plant material or animal materials. The rule of thumb for preparing compost is that it should contain 2 parts of vegetable matter (grass, leaves, straw etc) and one part animal matter (manure). The greater the number of material in the compost more the type of organisms will be at work.
You can use any material to prepare compost just remember, the material should have two qualities:
- It should be bio-degradable.
- It must contain things that are usable and available to the microorganisms.
Moisture is crucial for the composting process to complete. If the compost pile is too dry, the decomposing rate would be slow. If the pile is too wet, it will create a foul smell.
Keep adding water if mixture becomes too dry or when adding large amounts of brown organic material.
If you feel the water content is becoming too much for your liking add dry, brown organic materials to the compost mixture.
For a proper breakdown of materials, oxygen is a must. To provide much-needed air you have to turn the compost pile from time to time. It is important to complete the composting process and combating odor.
Micro-organisms are the main workers in the composting process. They break down the ingredients into useful compost. You can also add layers of soil or finished compost to supply these organisms. This will speed up the composting process.
Different Types of Organisms Present in the Compost:
How much time does it need to compost?
There are a quite a few factors that determine the total time needed to compost. Here are some steps you can take to maximize the speed of decomposing.
Once the compost is ready you can add it in the gardens to grow vegetables, flowers or perennials.
If this article helped you in any form, please put your word of encouragement below.