What is the Science of Composting?

 How to Compost the Easy Way

Entire books have been written about the science of composting. Aspiring gardeners are told that they not only need the right container, but they also need the right number of containers. They should have the right ratio of brown to green. Entire chapters are devoted to defining “brown” and “green.” Once one has the right container and the right ratio of ingredients, one must constantly monitor the temperature of the compost to ensure that it is neither too hot nor too cold. And with the right tool, don't forget to turn it on to continue the composting process. But do not run it too often as it may disrupt the composting process.

I'm so glad I didn't start studying composting until I started composting. If I had done my research earlier, I would have been too scared to start. If done "correctly", composting is expensive and time consuming. I am the slowest compost maker in the world, yet I make world-class compost.

How did you learn to compost?

The best way to learn anything is to make mistakes. Boy, did you learn how to compost a lot of these things?

Mistake #1 - When purchasing a composting product, you went to a supermarket and chose an expensive plastic product. Recycled plastic of course. It had a slatted lid to let in moisture, and sliding doors at the bottom to let out dung. Perfect, right? mistake.

You do not need to buy fertilizer. You can make one. Four columns and a grid. Rejected wooden pallets. Concrete blocks. Heck, you don't even need a container. Simply assemble your ingredients in a corner of your garden. Free farm fertilizer! This is how mother nature does it. Have you ever seen rich soil in a forest or forest? Fertilizer, my friend. Everything that dies falls to the ground and decomposes to form this rich black soil. No one measures his temperature or turns him over.

Mistake #2 - Placing Your Compost Out of Sight First, I placed my compost behind my shed where it couldn't be seen. It turned out to be very shady. Fertilizer needs heat from sunlight to “cook” properly. So I moved it to the corner of the sunny flower bed and planted lots of tall flowers around it to hide its black plastic ugliness.

Mistake #3 - Not Needing a Lid Remember that special lid that lets moisture in? No matter how much rain, there was little moisture. Fertilizer needs moisture. Remember, these are the organisms that break down your ingredients. You need to keep these creatures warm and hydrated. I removed the cover.

Despite the lid being closed, during the dog days of summer in August when it was hot and humid but no rain, I noticed my compost was starting to dry out. So I started watering it. Eventually I got into the habit of watering in my compost every time I watered my flowers. My neighbors thought I was crazy, but while they were spending a fortune on MiracleGro and destroying the ecosystem in my garden, I was saving money and the planet by using homemade compost. .

What to Put in Your Composter

The list of things you can put in your compost is endless, so I'm going to give you a list of things you should never put in your compost. ready? Meat, fat and bones. That's it. As long as you remember this rule, your compost will never smell or attract animals. If you add meat, fat or bones, it will just smell and attract animals. So don't do it. Keep them out of the mix and the only thing you'll attract are those pesky little flies that seem to come out of nowhere any time you stop feeding. But that's okay because your composter is outside, not in your kitchen.

Anything else is fair game. A lot of this will come from your kitchen. Fruit peels and pits. Peeling with vegetables. Whole fruits and vegetables that are ripe or beginning to rot. Coffee fields. Coffee filters. Tea bags (please remove staples). Eggshell. Leftover rice and pasta (as long as they are not seasoned). Leftover fries and paper towels to drain (as long as you use vegetable oil). A lot of things from your garden will go into your compost. The herbs you pulled. I like to take something I don't want (weeding) and make something I want (compost). Dead flower, little sticks flying in the storms. Rose bushes and other shrubs are pruned by cutting them into small pieces. Why small pieces? They collapse quickly. Large pieces of wood can take a few years to completely decompose.

Should Leaves and Grass Clippings be Added to Your Composter?

The lady teaching the class was so obsessed with composting that she kept a pile of last fall's leaves next to her composting machine so that every time she added some green (coffee fields are green—who knew?), she could throw something in. leaves to maintain this important green/brown ratio.

seriously? My leaves are too precious to put in my compost. I cut them up and use them as mulch in my flower beds. I never understood the whole green/brown ratio. You are free to watch it. I just throw out everything but meat, fat and bones and end up with world-class compost.

Now about those grass clippings. Leave them in your garden please. If you bag while mowing, you are depriving your lawn of vital nitrogen. Think about how much you pay for a lawn fertilizer that is primarily nitrogen. Buy yourself a mulcher to shred grass clippings and return them to your lawn and you'll never buy lawn fertilizer again.

Should Compost be Turned?

I never turn my compost. Amen I tried once but found my composting device to be long and narrow and it was very difficult to get deep into it and turn it without disturbing the center where all the action happens. So I don't dissuade him. And if you think about it, who turns such beautiful manure in the forest? It's true that not all of the things I put in my composter actually break down. In winter, when it's cold, things don't break around it. No problem. When I remove the compost from the bottom, I just throw anything that hasn't been composted yet into the top of the compost to continue the cycle again.

How Warm Should Your Composter Be?

Remember we talked about the crazy people who actually buy thermometers to find out how hot their compost is? Believe it or not, there are instructions on how to heat your compost if it's not hot enough, as well as how to cool it if it gets too hot. Sorry, I'll be spending my time gardening, so I don't know how hot your compost machine is. If this sounds ominous, remember that no one has ever seen Mother Nature check the temperature. As the shirt says, compost happens.

How Many Composters do You Need?

Ideally, you should have three fertilizers. One for adding current season 'ingredients', one for 'cooking' and one for finished compost that you can use right away. This is perfect. I live in the real world. I live alone in a small house with a small yard. I don't produce enough ingredients to fill that much compost. So I have one. It works like only three. I keep the stuff on top, ripening in between, and each spring I open up the bottom and dig up the finished compost to spread around my gardens.

I think if I had a bigger house and more gardens, I could replace up to two composts a year. Three seems a bit excessive to me unless you have a large family and a large truck park. Your experience may vary.

What is the Best Book on Composting?

After getting rid of all those mature tomes on composting, there is one book I recommend. This is a book about soil called Collaborating with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels. The first part is a bit difficult to get through but it sets the stage for the second part which talks about what you can do to protect and improve your soil. This book explains many things that have worked for me for years even though I had no idea why they worked. My composting method is also included. They call it “cold compost” and say it produces the most nutrient-dense compost.

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