Composting is one of the easiest ways to go eco friendly. It can be made from the simplest of things you have lying around and requires a minimal amount of effort. People think homemade compost messy and can smell, but if you know how to make compost at home the right way, you’ll be surprised how neat and tidy the whole process can be! All it requires is a bit of time, and you’ll have the best natural, eco friendly fertilizer for your garden.
Step 1 – Decide which type of composting you prefer
Before you start, you should know that there are two types of compost:
- Hot compost
- Cold compost
Composting is one of the easiest eco friendly hacks. If you wish to simply grab the waste from your yard or kitchen, pile it up, and let nature do its thing, then this is the simplest form of composting called cold composting. It’s easy, effective, but takes a longer amount of time to prepare (about a year or so). If you’ve got time on your hands, this is the easiest way to go.
However, if you want faster results and can’t wait for a whole year, you need what is called hot composting. Hot composting allows your compost to be ready in just a few months (as compared to a year with cold composting), due to the added nitrogen, carbon, air from the added manure. A small amount of manure added at the start is more than enough to get the process up and running.
Step 2 – Start collecting!
One of the best things about composting is that it can be made from the trash you have lying around your home. In order to start your own compost pile, you would want to first collect all the ingredients. A compost pile can be made easily from the scraps you have left in your kitchens such as in the trash bin or leftovers in the refrigerator. You can also find the scraps you need for the compost in your backyard. To collect your scraps for the pile, you could get this beautiful eco-friendly compost bin from Amazon, or you could go DIY and build your own!
Here are the types of things you can collect for your compost pile:
- Fruit/Vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Dry leaves
- Wood chips
- Shredded newspaper
You must avoid the following items from adding to your pile, they won’t break down properly and cause your pile to rot:
- Anything with Oil/Fat/Grease
- Anything with a metal coating
- Pet feces (dog/cat)
Step 3 – Combine all your scraps into a pile
Once your compost bin is filled completely, it’s time to start making the pile for composting. Find a good area in your backyard, preferably at a corner to keep everything neat and tidy. Once you have found the perfect spot, you can unload your bin, and voila! You have started making your own compost!
The key here is to have the right ratio and the right amount of fresh and dried scrap. The dried scrap includes wood chunks, newspaper shreds, and dried leaves, whereas green scrap includes all your freshly discarded vegetables, fruit peels, and fresh leaves.
Here are a few tips to help to jumpstart the composting process:
- Try to find an area where there is good sunshine, but also offers shade at a certain time of the day.
- Build your pile directly on the ground. It would help bring in the bacteria and the helpful creepy crawlies to break down the scrap faster.
- Build small fencing around the compost to keep it tidy as you build it up and keep the animals at bay
Important: For hot composting, you will need to add a small layer of manure to add extra nitrogen and carbon to your pile, which will help it cook faster.
Step 4 – Water and turn your pile
Every week or two, remember to sprinkle the pile with water to dampen the compost. As the compost cooks, a lot of water gets evaporated so the process slows down. Adding more water would help replenish the micro-organisms (but don’t add too much, or they’ll drown!).
You should also remember to turn and stir the compost using a shovel or a garden fork every week or so to prevent the compost from rotting. The key is to get the temperature just right across the entire pile. You can check the temperature of the pile using a thermometer or sticking your hand in the middle of the pile. If it feels significantly warm, turn the pile to aerate it and keep the consistency of cooking the same all around.
For hot composting, you may need to stir it more often (once every few days) to keep the cooking process from slowing down.
Step 5 – Feed your garden
Once your compost pile becomes dark brown and starts showing the consistency of soil or fertilizer, the cooking process is done and you have successfully made compost at home! The only thing left now is to grab a handful and add it as a yummy treat for the plants in your garden. It’s natural, eco friendly and economical too!