Composting is an easy way of turning waste into something useful.
Whether you are an experienced gardener with a green thumb or a novice gardener just getting started, you can benefit by learning how to compost in your backyard.
Through composting, you can turn waste products into something that can benefit your soil and, thus, benefit your plants.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get up and running with your very own compost pit, read on below.
What is Composting?
Composting is the process wherein solid waste is broken down by microorganisms. The soil can then assimilate the broken down materials in place of fertilizer. Getting started with composting is easy, safe, and inexpensive.
Benefits of Composting
The main benefits of composting are:
- Reduces methane emissions and lowers your carbon footprint.
- Encourages the production of good fungi and bacteria in your soil.
- Eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Enriches soil naturally.
Stages of the Composting Cycle
There are three main stages in the composting cycle.
- Stage 1. For a couple of days, microorganisms begin to break down the biodegradable contents in your composting pit physically. Heat is a natural byproduct of this stage; thus, temperatures in your pit may rise quickly.
- Stage 2. A different type of microorganism breaks down the organic materials into finer pieces. This stage can last a few days to a couple of months.
- Stage 3. By this stage, microorganisms begin breaking down the remainder of the organic matter. The organic matter will then be transformed into humus that can serve as a natural fertilizer.
Types of Composting
In general, there are two types of composting: hot and cold.
- Cold Composting. Cold composting is straightforward. It merely refers to collecting organic materials and then piling them up in a bin. In a year or so, the contents will begin to decompose.
- Hot Composting. Hot composting is a more complex type of composting but dramatically speeds up the process. You’ll need to watch the amount of nitrogen, carbon, air, and water that you use in your compost pit. However, you’ll get your fully decomposed materials in about one to three months.
What You’ll Need
In general, all types of composting require three essential ingredients: browns, greens, and water.
- Browns. Browns include dead leaves, branches, twigs, and the like.
- Greens. Greens refer to vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, etc.
- Water. You’ll need to have a certain amount of water in proportion to the number of greens and browns.
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