Making your own compost is a practice that helps the environment through recycling waste.
Compost is also an excellent way to create organic matter that is crucial for plant growth.
Thanks to your compost, you’ll feed and fertilize your plant beds without spending a dime… With today’s trend of going local, making your own compost is even more relevant!
- Make soil mix without leaving the house
- Compost and its uses explained
- Difference between soil mix and compost
- How to compost in an apartment
What is compost good for?
Compost is an excellent way to recycle plant waste we produce, and use it in the garden as soil conditioner, fertilizer and green manure.
- Compost is an excellent soil conditioner: drainage and aeration is better for roots.
- Its extra nutrients help increase soil quality for plants to develop.
- Compost is alive: living bacteria, fungus and microscopic insects work for the plant.
Overall, compost greatly enhances growth of plants, roses, trees and shrubs.
When to use compost
Compost is best given when plants need it most: their vegetation phase.
In the vegetable patch, use it to prepare the soil at the end of winter, before the first seeds are sown and plants transferred.
Compost must look uniform and even, have a dark color and a nice, peat-like or earthy smell.
It should break up easily into fine bits.
- It is used when plants need it most, which is during the growth phase after winter.
- In spring for the most part, but also all year long for indoor plants.
How to compost plant waste: making a composter
There are 2 ways of preparing your own compost: in heaps, and in bins.
- Compost bins are great because they don’t need much space. They easily fit in urban gardens.
Heaps have other advantages: they can extend as needed.
Nonetheless, it is often exposed to rainy weather and birds and other animals that might come forage.
Waste to add to the compost
All plant waste from your home and garden can be added to your composter or compost heap.
Recommended organic waste includes:
- Fruit and vegetable peels
Better to have washed them before peeling to remove any trace of chemical products
- Coffee grounds with paper filter
- Eggshells, crushed to speed their breakdown
- Wilted flowers
- Bread and pasta-based waste
- Green garden waste: leaves, lawn trimmings, weeds, flowers, etc…
Be careful! Check that none of this waste has been sprayed with chemicals
- Certain house waste such as paper tissue and ashes
- Tea bags, also those used for infusions and herbal tea
- Ashes can be composted or set aside for direct fertilizing and slug control
Banned waste to not throw into the compost
Some weeds should not be thrown in the compost, especially those that carry seeds, since this would spread them far and wide.
Don’t also add any waste that has been treated chemically with sprays such as weed-killers, pesticides, fungicides and other products that are bad for the environment and for our planet.
Do not add to your composter:
- Diseased plants
- Meat, and bones especially
- Fish and fishbones
- Oysters and mussels and clam shells
- Dairy products
- Oranges, lemon or grapefruit peels
How to make your own composter
There is a very easy and affordable way to make one. This one is for outdoors, but here’s one for apartment composting.
Just attach 4 transportation pallets at the corners with wire and place them upright on the ground.
- Choose a spot that is protected from wind, not too sunny and easy to reach.
- Spread a layer of straw, twigs or leaves about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) thick along the bottom.
- Turn the pile over regularly to avoid materials rotting together, ensure air circulation, and help matter decompose evenly.
- If the pile dries up too much, water to give the compost the moisture it needs.
Air circulation is provided for by spaces between boards, and it helps your green matter to break down very well.
It makes sense to set up a hinged opening at the bottom of one pallet, to collect the compost from the pile.
Smart tip: use compost activator to speed the process
Stimulate bacterial activity and that of microscopic life forms in the compost to speed the process up.
Activator agents are 100% organic and can be used in organic agriculture. They enhance waste breakdown.
It guarantees top-quality compost that can be used earlier.