One of the best ways to succeed in gardening is to make your own compost. Preparing the soil you want to grow your plants in is of utmost significance, which decides the plants’ longevity, quality for consumption and good yield. Composting does not require so much of your energy or money; so have no second thoughts, just understand the science behind it.

What is compost?

Compost is the organic matter which has been decomposed or broken down into smaller pieces by bacteria or other fauna. Compost is essential in organic gardening; it provides the soil with required nutrients without artificial fertilizers being added to it. It also provided a diverse range of good bacteria and moisture for germination. Composting needs a few ingredients, they are:

  1. Carbon source
  2. Nitrogen source
  3. Water
  4. Bacteria
  5. Heat

A combination of all these will start the process and at the end of about two months, you will be ready to harvest a fertile compost. Usually, the carbon source and the nitrogen source originate in the kitchen. Vegetable peels, leftover food and leaves are good to start with. When compost temperature reaches 50-70 degree Celsius, all the harmful bacteria that were thriving a moment ago will perish, leaving the good ones and the process continues. The pile then becomes humus, in other words, broken down organic matter which is much smaller in particle size and at the end of two months the process is complete.

1. Vermicompost

Vermicompost

Vermicompost

This is one of the best ways to compost and is known for producing relatively nutrient rich compost. The technique employs worms to compost rather than depending only on bacteria; worms are wonderful workers and a gardener’s best friend when it comes to producing compost. Species such as red wigglers, earth worms and white worms are incorporated into the pile and the work is considered done.

You can Vermi compost in open pile or in pits; you will have to shovel in dirt and soil with the worms. There are certain dos and don’ts in vermicomposting; don’t add citric fruits or highly acidic fruits to the compost because this may harm the worms, eventually killing them.

2. Open Bins

Open bin composting system

Open bin composting system

Start by creating open bins with wooden crates or wire fences. Stack each bin adjacently so that the transferring process is easy.  Once you dump the pile of kitchen waste in one bin, the pile is now open to air and direct sunlight. You can now spray water and turn the pile regularly. Once the breaking down process starts you can transfer the partially decomposed pile to the next one and fill in the first bin with a fresh pile of vegetable waste. Then, keep an eye on the second bin and once its fully composed transfer the pile to the third bin and also transfer the partially composed batch from first bin to the second. This process is done for convenience in turning, harvesting and faster production in composting.

 

Closed bins

Closed bin composting with provisions for harvesting

Closed bin composting with provisions for harvesting

We have included this method of decomposing for its utility in a household with limited space. Closed bins are easier to maintain and less of an eyesore and are apt for people who live in the city. Closed bins are available in house ware showrooms; you can even get them at a reasonable price by the municipal council. Turning and harvesting of the compost maybe a difficulty here, but you can leave the bottom uncovered for easy removal at the end of the process.