Any gardener will know that the health of their garden is only as good as the compost that they use, and while buying compost as the local nursery is an option, it’s almost always better to make a compost pile at home if you’re able to.
Good, organic compost will have the look and texture of used coffee grounds, while having a sweet smell. Organic compost is commonly known as “black gold” among the gardening community, and it’s the very best stuff around the help grow healthier plants. Here we will look at some useful tips for creating organic compost.
1. Hot And Cold Compost
There are two main kinds of compost: hot and cold. Hot composting is compost that is routinely turned, allowing fresh air, moisture, and nutrients to be turned into the centre of the pile, giving the microbes living there the chance to proliferate. Hot compost, when done correctly, can be ready to use in a few weeks to 6 months, depending on how often it’s turned and how well the composting layers are formed.
Cold composting, on the other hand, is compost made without turning, or simply just a pile of compost that is allowed to develop on its own in the corner of the garden. It can take up to a year for this compost to fully mature, but it’s still worth having a cold compost pile going regardless.
2. Turning Hot Compost
Turning is the physical act of taking the top layers of the compost and turning them into the middle of the pile. It helps the microbiology of the compost by providing fresh air as well as nutrients. When a compost pile is getting too cold, turning it can increase the activity in the pile and heat it up quickly.
If the compost is getting too hot, sprinkling it with water can help cool it down before beneficial microbes are killed. It takes some practise to get a compost pile just right, but it’s always worth the effort.
3. Avoid Meats And Chemicals
It might be tempting to add leftover meats and bones to a pile of compost, but this should be avoided where possible. The reason for this is because rotting meat is packed with anaerobic and pathogenic bacteria, which can be transferred to your food crops when you put the compost down.
Meat should be disposed of in the trash but investing in a Bokashi bin is also a viable option, as it allows the meat to be broken down and the pathogenic bacteria to be removed before it’s safe to add to regular compost piles.
4. Knowing When Compost Is Ready
Compost is ready when it has entered its mature stage, which follows the thermophilic stage. Here, bacterial activity has plateaued somewhat, and the temperatures within the pile should remain at a steady 57 degrees Celsius.
The compost will look like used coffee grounds, and have a fairly sweet smell, which is released by special bacterial populations known as actinomycetes, giving the composter plenty of time to pursue other hobbies, such as learning courses, playing Australian online slots, and more.