As a gardener, I have found composting to be the easiest and cheapest way to boost my soil nutrients. I decided from the time I started gardening not to use synthetic fertilizers but to focus solely on organic fertilizers and as much as possible DIY ones too. I use mostly manure and compost in the garden, I’ve also found a few trusted organic plant food brands that I use as complements.
I find composting fun and very easy to do. By recycling my kitchen scraps, I keep my plants healthy and fed all year round.
Compost is a mixture of ingredients used to fertilise and improve the soil. Compost is commonly prepared by decomposing plant and food waste, recycling the organic materials so that the mixture is rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms such as worms and fungal mycelium. (Source Wikipedia)
Compost can come in form of compost teas and slurries or as dried compost. For this post I’d be focusing on “dry” compost.
To make good compost you need a good balance of Greens and Browns.
Greens: Nitrogen Content
Browns: Carbon Content
Most gardeners swear that a ratio of 70% Nitrogen material to 30% carbon material make the best balance for great compost. I tend to follow that principle.
Green sources include leafy vegetables and stalks, green grass chippings, plantain/banana peels, onion peels, potato peels, coffee ground, eggshells etc. All these can be sourced from your kitchen scraps.
Brown sources include dried browned shredded grass, rice husk, used paper or newspaper, shredded carton, sawdust, toilet roll, coconut coir, soil etc.
Here is how make my Compost
- I make my compost in a perforated container, this is to allow aeration in the compost for easy breakdown, to allow water flow out and so that the compost will also not stink.
- I use kitchen scraps like peels from yam, plantain, bananas, potatoes, beets, onions, eggshells, vegetable stalks… for my greens.
- For browns, I predominantly use either Sawdust, Soil or Coconut coir, and sparingly use cardboard, used paper or newspaper etc.
- Remember to chop up everything going into your compost bin small bits, so that they can degrade faster. Remove any seed element from your greens or else some of your greens may start to grow in the compost.
- Water your compost once a week, ensure water soaks it through. Then turn the compost using a shovel or hand trowel, to mix the browns and greens properly together. Sometimes I do this by shaking or gently rolling the tightly closed bin.
It usually takes about a month to fill each compost bin and thereafter I typically wait 2 – 3 months from when each compost bin is full before using the compost in my soil.