Making your own compost means taking action for the planet. You can thus enrich the soil in your garden without using industrial products. Making a homemade natural fertilizer is not complicated, but you still have to respect a few principles. So let’s see how to go about making your compost and at the same time becoming an eco-gardener who recovers its waste household and garden. Here are the steps to follow and the mistakes not to make in order to obtain good quality compost.
Why go to composting?
Composting consists of obtaining the natural decomposition organic matter which is ensured by the action of micro-organisms: fungi, yeasts and bacteria, and / or by earthworms, that is to say earthworms (we speak of vermicompost) . Recycling organic materials provides, after processing, a nutrient which plants absolutely need to develop, flower and bear fruit.
We can therefore start composting at home in order toimprove soil quality without having to buy fertilizers. So fertilized, the soil in his garden can be used in the vegetable patch, in the pleasure garden in the flower beds, on the lawn, at the foot of ornamental trees and shrubs, hedges, but also in the orchard if fruit trees are raised, and even in the pots and planters with which you plant the terrace, the balcony and the interior of your home.
What is the use of compost for plants?
If compost is so essential to plants of all kinds, it is because it provides them with the macroelements and microelements essential to their existence.
The macroelements are :
- Sulfur (S),
- Calcium (Ca),
- Nitrogen (N),
- Phosphorus (P),
- Potassium (K).
Letters in parentheses indicate the chemical symbol for each element. These last three (N, P, K) are those that plants consume the most. N is essential for stems and leaves, P and K for plant vitality and the growth of roots, flowers and fruits.
As to microelements, it’s about :
- Iron (Fe),
- Zinc (Zn),
- Manganese (Mn),
- Copper (Cu).
Although used in small quantities by plants, these microelements are no less essential to them.
Make your compost: the different stages
Just as the essential nutrients that we get from our diet must be supplied to our body in a balanced way, it is essential that all essential elements for plants are provided in a sufficient manner to avoid deficiencies, but not in excess as this can be harmful. The advantage of compost is that it is formed in a balanced way and therefore perfectly supplies the plants.
We can also appreciate that by enriching the soil in the garden with homemade compost (organic matter retaining rainwater well) we thus limit runoff. But the interest of making your compost does not stop there. The more the number of individuals who make their compost increases, the more we reduce the number of landfills and the fewer waste collection trucks there are on the roads and in our towns and villages. In addition to being excellent for plants and soil, making your compost is ecological and economical.
Select the waste that can be used in the compost
To obtain quality compost and not harm microorganisms, it is important to select the waste to be used. It could be :
- Waste from garden like wet and green materials (nitrogen-rich green waste) and dry matter (brown carbon-rich waste), namely: mosses, manure, green leaves, clippings, brush cutting residues such as stems, those from pruning i.e. branches but which must first be crushed, dead leaves…
- Waste that is produced at the cooked like eggshells, peelings (fruits and vegetables), coffee filters, coffee grounds, stale bread, dirty paper towels …
However, not all kitchen waste should be incorporated into the compost. Some, like bones and fruit stones, do not compost easily while others are totally to forbid because they are dangerous or not suitable for compost. This is the case for dairy products, meat, fish, obviously glass, metals, polystyrene, plastic packaging, waste such as unused drugs, dressings, bandages and other syringes …
Prepare your composter
Everyone can get a composter from the town hall of their municipality or buy a kit in a garden center. But you can totally use a makeshift model without spending a dime. This could be, for example, old pallets of recuperation assembled together to form the structure of the composter. It is highly preferable that the wood has not been treated. A compost bin with a capacity of ½ m3 perfect for a garden of 250 m².
All you need to do is install your composting device in a corner of the garden that you have taken care to dig about fifteen centimeters if you use pallets.
Position your waste correctly in the composter
All waste to be composted must be spread out so as to form over time successive layers 20 centimeters high about. The ideal is to alternate green waste (wet) and brown waste (dry).
Take good care of your compost
The chances of success depend on the attention you give to your compost. It is essential to ensure that it always remains wet. It is therefore necessary to think about watering it from time to time but without soaking it. You can also bring it a little nettle manure and soil so that it does not dry out.
And to promote fermentation, the frequent mixing of materials is needed. You can use a fork to turn them more easily. From time to time, it is very useful to add to your compost nettles or failing that, mowing the lawn because they boost the decomposition of organic matter.
Use your compost when it’s ripe
Patience is essential since a period from 6 months to 1 year is necessary to allow the compost to reach maturity. We then obtain a good quality soil which can be used in the garden and in planters or in the pots of houseplants. To do this, it suffices to recover the oldest compost as needed, that is to say that which is at the bottom of the composter. It is ready to be incorporated into the cultivated soil in order to make it more fertile.
By making your own compost with part of your household waste, you get a excellent humus much better than the potting soil you buy in bags. In addition, we reduce the volume of waste treated by communities. The individual composting therefore has a positive impact on the community and allows everyone to save money. It is also an excellent way to promote the recycling of organic materials in a short circuit and consequently to reduce greenhouse gases.