Compost is decayed organic matter that has been recycled and reused as plant fertilizer, making it vital to any garden. While you can head to your nearest plant nursery to pick this up, it’s just as easy to make it yourself. With these simple tips, you can start composting and making an instant fertilizer that will make your garden look better than ever.
Before getting started, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that there are two different types of compost. There is cold and hot compost, which are formed in two completely unique ways. To create cold compost, you need to start by collecting yard waste like leaves and grass, as well as organic materials found in the trash. This includes fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells. Once you’ve done that, gather all those materials in a pile or bin. Within a year, these resources will decompose, leaving you with cold compost.
For the more serious gardeners, there’s hot compost. Many people choose this over cold compost because it doesn’t take as long to generate. Instead, you’ll get the compost in one to three months during warm weather. Similar to cold compost, begin by gathering up any organic matter found in your backyard and garbage. When you have enough materials to make a pile at least 3 feet deep, create alternating 4- to 8 –inch-deep layers of green (fresh leaves, coffee grounds) and brown (dried leaves, shredded paper) wastes. This will help give you an even composition of materials. Then, sprinkle water over the pile regularly. It needs to have the consistency of a damp sponge, but make sure not to water it too much. If you do, you’ll end up drowning the microorganisms in your pile, which will make it rot instead of compost.
Throughout the growing season, offer the pile oxygen by turning it once a week with a pitchfork. The best time to do this is when the center of the pile feels warm or the temperature reads between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. While before we were separating the materials by color, it’s now time to stir thoroughly. This will help the pile cook faster and prevent ingredients from becoming knotty and developing a bad smell. As soon as the compost stops giving off heat and becomes dry, brown and flaky, it’s fully cooked and ready to deposit into the garden.