Composting has been around long before any modern forms of farming and gardening. Creating a good compost remains one of the most beneficial ways to create and improve soil health for whatever you are growing. Even though compost is essentially just decomposed matter, there are still ways to produce a better yielding and nutrient-rich mix for your garden! Let’s discuss some important steps to take to make sure your organic waste is providing maximum benefits to your garden or crop.
1. Good Compost Comes From Good Organic Materials
Compost consists of two types of material, Green Material and Brown Material.
Green Material or nitrogen rich material breaks down fast and provides microbes with proteins needed for cell structure and reproduction. This could include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, plant clippings, grass cuttings and even tea bags.
Brown Material or carbon rich material breaks down more slowly and provides microbes with energy to function. Cardboard egg containers, fallen leaves, straw, woodchips and shredded newspaper can all provide vital fiber and also create air pockets for oxygen.
2. Keep The Bad Materials Out
You should avoid adding synthetics like plastics or metals into your compost as they do not rot naturally in a short period of time. Unless you are opting to get a digester, no meats or dairy products should enter a compost pile. These along with things like babies diapers, or pet waste, can introduce unwanted pests and foul smells into your compost.
You should also avoid introducing any perennial weeds (like dandelions) or weeds with seed heads. These will find their ways back to life in your garden.
3. Use a Compost Accelerator
With a compost accelerator such as EM-1® or EM® Bokashi you are adding beneficial microorganisms that work to ferment the waste in the compost. Fermenting the organic matter prevents the foul odors and results in quicker breakdown of the organic material.
Instead of months or up to a year for complete compost, EM-1® and EM® Bokashi can accelerate small piles in weeks and larger piles in months.
4. Location, Location, Location
A good area for a your compost is somewhere dry and that drains easily. This will make sure that no excess moisture is introduced. This will speed up the food recycling process and may also encourage worms to get in the compost and start aiding in the breakdown efforts.
If using a closed container such as a bucket or garbage bin, they can be kept anywhere that is convenient. When using EM-1® and EM® Bokashi, the fermenting process produces very little odor and zero mess.
5. Aerate The Organic Material
Composting is a very low-maintenance task, but with that said it is important to regularly introduce new organic matter to the pile, as well as aerate the matter by mixing or turning it over. This can be done with a pitchfork for larger piles, or a compost aerator from something smaller.
Adding EM-1® increases the air flow in the pile and increases the aerobic microbe populations. This means more air will be available with less turning and less work. Add 10oz of activated EM-1® for every cubic foot of material (or 90 oz for a cubic yard). This can be applied to the pile each time you add new material.
However you compile your compost, know that you are already taking the correct steps in creating a healthier soil for your vegetation! With any beginning will come mistakes and errors. It is important to note these so on the next batch of compost you can turn out an even better mixture.