Are you looking to learn about homemade composting? For those willing to put in the effort, there’s a range of benefits both to your garden and the planet when you make your own compost.
With a little bit of know-how and a lot of patience, you can turn your food scraps, leaves, and grass clippings into a rich, nutrient-dense soil amendment.
So why wait? Get started on your composting journey today and watch as your garden thrives with the help of your very own homemade compost.
Let’s get started.
Considerations before composting
Before you get started with homemade composting, there are a couple of considerations to take into account. Be sure to check these out before deciding on where your composting heap should sit in your outdoor space.
If you only have a small garden, then chances are you don’t need a huge composting space or materials. A composting bin works well for those short on space.
If you have a larger garden or need to use a lot of composting, then opt for constructing a composting pile according to the size you need.
Ideally, your compost heap should be somewhere that catches a lot of the sun. Aim for somewhere in the garden that’s easily accessible for the work you need to do to make the compost.
You’ll also need to make sure the preferred spot has good drainage underneath. This is to stop the compost from getting waterlogged.
While garden waste is the most common type of compost, there are other ways to make homemade compost as well.
Another method to consider is worm composting, where organic matter is fed to redworms, who consume and break down the waste, leaving behind nitrogen-rich compost.
How to make homemade compost
Once you’ve found the perfect spot in your garden and decided on how big your composting pile will be, it’s time to get stuck in.
To the bottom of the pile, add a layer of brown materials to line the heap. The brown materials could include dead leaves, straw or even shredded paper and cardboard.
Next, add a layer of green materials. This is your composting materials like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells.
Repeat the process of layering brown and green materials on one another until you have around a metre’s worth of build-up. It might take you a while to amass enough materials, so stock up in advance!
You want the ratios to be roughly the same, as brown materials release carbon and green materials release nitrogen. The two need to work in equal amounts in order to decompose the materials and leave behind nutrient-rich compost.
Once the pile is complete, grab a watering can or hose to moisten the composting materials. You need to add enough water so that the pile is damp, but not waterlogged otherwise the decomposition won’t happen.
At this stage, the hard work is done and the waiting game begins. Every few days you’ll need to go and turn the pile with a spade or garden fork. This is to aerate the materials so the decomposition process can be sped up.
Continue this process for several months – yes, really! – until your composting material is dark brown and crumbly. Congratulations, you now have homemade compost that is ready to use in your garden.
There are certain household waste items that you can’t add to your compost, for fear of attracting vermin. If you’re unsure about what you can put into your composting, you can find the UK Government guidance here.
Uses for homemade compost
Once your compost is ready to go, there are a range of different benefits and uses that will make your garden lush and beautiful.
If you live in an area with poor soil or you’ve had several seasons of growth in your garden, the soil may be lacking in vital nutrients needed for growing plants. Compost can improve the texture and fertility of the soil, making it easier for plants to take up nutrients and retain moisture.
Compost is an excellent and natural tool for mulching flowerbeds. The compost suppresses weeds growing through, keeps moisture in and regulates the soil temperature better than without any compost in place.
Tired of battling bugs and other nasties for your plants? Compost can be used to keep pests away by creating a healthy soil environment that introduces healthy microorganisms. A diverse ecosystem is less likely to be affected by pests because the different species in the ecosystem can help to keep each other in check.
If you have sandy or clay-rich soil to grow with, compost can help you improve the soil structure. Organic matter helps to break up heavy clay soils, making them more porous and better able to drain water.
If you’re looking to grow plants from seed, then homemade compost provides a rich and nutrient-dense to give your saplings the best start in life.
Compost can be used alone as a seed-starting medium, but it may be too dense for seedlings to push through. Mix in the homemade compost with a seed-starting blend to boost their chances of germination.
Using compost as a component in potting soil for container gardening can be a great way to provide plants with the nutrients and beneficial microorganisms they need to thrive.
Mix around one part compost to three parts potting soil to create a nutrient-rich potting mix. This can be used for any kind of container gardening, whether it’s for vegetables, flowers, herbs or houseplants.
Not only have you successfully transformed your kitchen scraps and yard waste into a rich, nutrient-dense homemade compost, but you’ve also done your part in reducing your carbon footprint and helping to combat climate change.
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